The Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) produced a report on women in the House of Commons after the 2020 election in January 2017. This report argued that “the under-representation of women MPs does not only represent a serious democratic deficit; it also means that the UK is missing out on the benefits of having gender balance in its highest decision-making body.”
The Committee noted that only 30% of sitting MPs are women, and that “The UK ranks only 48th globally for representation of women in the lower or single legislative chamber, having fallen from 25th place in 1999.”
- The Government should set a domestic target of 45% for representation of women in Parliament and local government by 2030 in response to the UN indicators for Sustainable Development Goal 5.5.
- The Government should seek to introduce in legislation a statutory minimum proportion of female parliamentary candidates in general elections for each political party, a 45% minimum.
- Parties that fail to comply with this target need to face sanctions for the quota to be effective. The Government should consider a range of possible sanctions.
- The Government should immediately bring into force the statutory requirement for political parties to publish their parliamentary candidate diversity data for general elections, as set out in Section 106 of the Equality Act 2010.
- The Government should bring forward legislative proposals to empower the Electoral Commission to collect and host this diversity data, to ensure consistency and transparency from political parties.