Should the numbers of women in politics raise concern?

27 Sep 2017

Why is it that our politicians are mostly men? The majority of people in politics are in fact men and according to the official parliament website, as of the 2017 General Election, only 32% of all MPs are women – a staggering statistic and actually a record high.

 

Considering more and more people are talking about equality and feminism, it would be perfectly reasonable to assume that the numbers of men and women in politics are near even. However, this is definitely not the truth. 

 

The numbers of women in politics has been much worse in the past, so as a society we are definitely moving in the right direction. This is because, prior to 1987, women made up less than 5% of MPs.

 

Clearly good progress has been made in the last 30 years. However, that doesn't mean that as a society we still don't have a long way to go and the amount of female MPs alone are not enough to change the views against them.

 

Most people think that because we have a female Prime Minister, we must have an equal society and therefore plenty of female politicians and

women interested in politics. Sadly, this isn't the case. Most well known politicians are men and the main exception that people could name instantly is Theresa May.

 

Does this then indicate that we are living in a society where the numbers of women in politics are severely lacking? Moreover, the female politicians that do exist are not as well known as their male colleagues.

 

Politics is incredibly important for our contributions to society, but even through my knowledge I struggle to name a significant amount of women politicians. Even then, the ones I can name are both past and current politicians, which heavily contributes to my score.

 

Not only this, but almost every female politician that I can name is right-wing. It turns out that I’m not the only one who has this problem, when I asked a few people from a range of ages and both sides of the political spectrum, roughly 9/10 female politicians whom they named, held the right-wing view.

 

This evidently means that we are developing a society where young girls who are looking up to female politicians, tend to only be getting views from the right side of the political spectrum. It sounds almost unbelievable that out of all the Prime Ministers we have had, only two of those have been women: the first being Margaret Thatcher in 1979, and the second being Theresa May in 2016. This is sadly still more than the United States, as they haven't had a single female President.

 

Moreover, it is outrageous that we have only ever had two female Prime Ministers, both of which belonging to the Conservative Party. This means that the only two female Prime Ministers that we have had have not only been right-wing, but also from the exact same political party. The problem with this is that people subconsciously begin to relate female politicians with not only a specific view, but a specific party as that is all they have experienced.

 

The issue with relating female politicians in general to a specific person or set of views is that it of course doesn't celebrate any diversity of opinion. But even more than that, if the main female politicians only represent the right-wing view and someone is left-wing, consciously or even subconsciously they may be less likely to vote for a woman.

 

Therefore, by talking about this issue, awareness is being spread about the worryingly low number of female politicians in our society. In the next election, first time voters and those even younger than that, who have been introduced to the world of feminism and the everyday sexism that they are being objected, would have been prevented from previously seeing the effects of a high number of female politicians whom represent a range of political opinions.

 

By talking about this, women can be informed about how they can change the world and, of course, one of the best ways to get started with that is through politics. After all, it governs the world as we know it.
 

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