Scotland: party views on 5050

The democracy5050 model presents a democratic way to achieve equal gender representation. Equal gender representation is not yet an issue in the lead-up to the Australian federal election (set for 2 July). We expect that things will not improve and this will lead to more people demanding concrete action. 

We have been following developments in Scotland where hopes of greater gender equity in representation were dashed this year. This article from Holyrood Magazine in Scotland serves as another warning that this important issue cannot be simply left to the political parties. There were high hopes about promoting gender balance prior to the recent Scottish elections. The results were very disappointing. Holyrood magazine put this issue to the three female leaders of the major parties. The answers below show divergent views. 

Q.           Very little progress was made in terms of gender representation in the Scottish Parliament in May’s election. Is there now a case for some form of cross-party agreement on quotas or a mechanism of some sort to ensure that half of the parliament is made up of women?
 A.           Nicola Sturgeon - Scottish National Party
 The SNP took clear steps to improve female representation ahead of the 2016 election, and I am proud that 43 per cent of our new group of MSPs are women – a significant step forward. In fact of our 17 new MSPs, 13 of them are women. It is disappointing that the overall gender balance of the parliament has not improved but I hope the SNP’s action on this will serve as an example to those parties which have a very poor record.
 A.           Ruth Davidson - Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
I think all parties need to look at the issue of female representation. I speak as someone who comes from a party which supplied Britain with its first and only female prime minister, and has had two female leaders of the Scottish party in succession. However, it’s quite clear that all parties need to do more to encourage women to get involved in politics and this is something we are actively seeking to do ahead of next year’s council elections.
A.           Kezia Dugdale -Scottish Labour Party
Cross-party agreement already exists – Labour, Greens, SNP and Lib Dem leaders all back the Women 50:50 campaign which is advocating for legislated candidate quotas. We need this ahead of the next Scottish Parliament election or we will simply have more of the same. It’s welcome that the SNP has finally followed Labour’s lead after over 20 years by introducing all women shortlists. This is a start but we must move away from voluntary mechanisms left to political whim. 

We have collected our posts before the Scottish election here:








And these are our posts after the election results were announced:









Don't trust the parties on gender equity

The results for Election 2016 in Scotland show how we cannot rely on parties to give effect to the change required to create a balanced form of democracy:

TORY gains cost Scotland the chance to get more women into parliament, experts said yesterday.
While women head the country’s three biggest parties, and the Green leadership team is gender-balanced, the level of women elected on Thursday showed no change on 2011.
Just 45 of Scotland’s new MSPs are women – compared with 84 men. Despite making up around 51 per cent of the population, the Holyrood rate is a mere 34.8 per cent.


Scottish election shows some gains but unimpressive gender representation for women

A report on the success of some YES campaigners promoting women in parliament in the Scottish election 2016. 

Three members of Women for Independence will boost parliament's unimpressive gender representation.
Several prominent yes campaigners have been elected to the Scottish parliament, though new alliance Rise failed to win any seats
Prominent figures from the broad 'yes' campaign, including Scottish Greens and Women for Independence (WfI) members, have been elected as MSPs in yesterday's Holyrood election. 

Arguing for quotas in Scotland

People, understandably, want the people who sit in our parliament and council chambers to be elected on merit. So do we. But right now women are being kept out of Holyrood and other decision-making spaces because of factors that have nothing to do with our ability to do the job.

Quotas are a deliberate disruption of deep-rooted assumptions about who should have power and who shouldn’t.

They provide a jolt to systems and ways of working that yield an over-representation of men in political life.

Quotas cut through one of the barriers to our representatives looking more like the people that they represent.