The 300 Group- women in politics- still a hidden struggle?

(124 Posts)
EachPeachPearMum Sat 13-Jun-09 00:20:58

The 300 Group- an all party campaign for women in parliament, politics and public life.
Do you think there is a place for a group like this nowadays? Should women in politics be on the agenda in electoral reform?
(Were you even aware it had folded? I wasn't... but I am hardly up-to-date on these matters)

Should we be supporting and promoting women's entry into politics? Is it necessary? Is it unfair?

Would greater numbers of female politicians lead to an increase in awareness of issues that affect women or improved legislation?

There isn't even a wiki page for the 300 group - which I find astonishing...
though I have found a few useful links on google:

Piece about the founding of the 300 group

Evidence given by Lesley Abdela to parliament on female representation- May 2009

Lesley Abdela in the Guardian last year

scottishmummy Sun 14-Jun-09 21:13:37

but the implication is more women= better or else why bother manipulating selection

should be electable on own merits not by favouritism

Ewe Sun 14-Jun-09 21:29:51

More women = equal, not better.

Why should we be run by a government where men are the majority? Do most people in this country actually feel well represented by a white middle class man? I suspect not.

I don't think that there should just be more women in the house, I think there should be more ethnic minorities, people from different backgrounds etc.

A diverse government with lots of different experiences and passions is my ideal but electing people on own merits isn't even making this a possibility, let alone a reality.

dittany Sun 14-Jun-09 21:30:32

More women equals more democratic representation for women. Women's issues and women's rights are much further up the agenda in countries where there are higher numbers of women in politics. Nobody said women would necessarily be better politicians than men. That's a straw man.

Do you think men would stand for it if 80% or whatever it is of parliament were women and every prime minister we've had bar were women? It's grossly unfair and against natural justice.

If you prefer being ruled by men though SM, maybe you should trot along to Saudi Arabia or Iran. They don't hold with any silly notions of political representation for women there.

dittany Sun 14-Jun-09 21:31:26

"bar one"

scottishmummy Sun 14-Jun-09 21:41:34

dittany to try make a cogent arguemnt without resorting to putdown

ok so lets get down to it - which women?

most likely middle class educated will present

how is that any more representative to a working class woman in council scheme

Do most people in this country actually feel well represented by a white middle class man? I suspect not.

nor will they feel better represented by white middle class women.who are most likely to have desire to stand

or else what?quotas of women based upon

policywonk Sun 14-Jun-09 21:45:20

They should be electable on their own merits, SM, yes. But all the evidence is that they are not.

Put it this way: do you accept that women are discriminated against in their attempts to enter Parliament?

scottishmummy Sun 14-Jun-09 21:47:31

yes,of course i do.structurally and culturally politics is a bear pit but positive discrimination isnt way to go

policywonk Sun 14-Jun-09 21:53:23

What about my argument below re. sex discrimination legislation? Politics is one of the few careers in which discrimination legislation doesn't apply. Women are protected from the worst excesses of sexism in most other careers; why not in politics too?

I'm not prepared to wait around for society to do its dreary business. We've had equal pay legislation for something like 30 years; women still don't get paid as much as men for the same work. It would be nice if society could be trusted to sort this stuff out by itself, but the truth is that it doesn't. At the current rate of change, we'd achieve gender parity in Westminster after about two centuries. Why should the next 10 generations of women continue to be discriminated against?

dittany Sun 14-Jun-09 22:03:23

That wasn't a put down SM, that was following your argument to its logical conclusion.

Every argument you have put here has been in favour of maintaining the status quo and thus continuing the sexist discrimination against women that disfigures our political landscape.

I think men in this country probably do feel reasonably well-represented by our overwhelmingly male parliament. Certainly better represented than the women in this country feel.

dittany Sun 14-Jun-09 22:06:19

Anyway, you carefully avoided my question whilst fibbing that I was putting you down. I'll repeat:

"Do you think men would stand for it if 80% or whatever it is of parliament were women and every prime minister we've had bar one were women?"

scottishmummy Sun 14-Jun-09 22:11:24

parachuting in a few token women doesnt redress longstanding issues it probably exacerbates problem of women not being taken seriously enough

and legitmises the "oh she only got the job because she is a woman" argument.because they'd beparachuting in on gender

anyway you potentially take a bunch of middle class educated suits and replace them with middle class educated skirts.doesnt necesarily mean they will be any better

yes there is a long way to go but on professional courses like medicine and law over 50% of undergraduates are female

women obtain better degrees than men
a new 2009 study by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) asserts

not only do women outnumber men overall at university, they also outnumber them at every type of university. They are also more likely to get a good degree pass (a 2:1 or a first) and are less likely to drop out.

dittany Sun 14-Jun-09 22:14:59

Jesus H. Christ, political parties parachute men in to parliamentary seats all the time but it doesn't stop men being taken seriously enough.

If people don't take women seriously that's because they are misogynists. You don't let misogynists set the agenda. That's a terrible argument against requiring political parties to ensure that their candidates reflect the electorate.

Nice one calling women skirts though. Still working on that feminism then SM. (Now that one was a put down).

scottishmummy Sun 14-Jun-09 22:16:41

dittany,the put down was you liken my views to those of oppressive regimes and suggest i go live there.

if that is your chosen style of debate- fair enough

just doesnt make you look like a smart bear

dittany Sun 14-Jun-09 22:16:43

The point is that there are a whole lot of men in politics who you could safely say about "He only got the job because he's a man/old Etonian" but people don't because sexism rules the day and we aren't supposed to notice all the "positive" discrimination at work in favour of men. It's just the way things are.

dittany Sun 14-Jun-09 22:19:22

Like I said it was taking your argument to its logical conclusion. If you don't like your sexism being compared to that of regimes in the Middle East perhaps you should try not to have views that resemble theirs.

Also if you don't approve of put downs then why are you saying stuff like this?:

"just doesnt make you look like a smart bear"

policywonk Sun 14-Jun-09 22:20:41

I don't think we're going to agree SM grin

I disagree that the fact of women's sex doesn't make a difference. I don't think issues such as trafficking and DV would have been addressed as determinedly by a male Home Secretary, for example. And my post below about the global situation gave a few examples of how women's gender can make a difference, including the study that indicated that they are more effective parliamentarians (possibly because of women's greater capacity - whether by nature or nurture - for forming alliances and working in teams, and their willingess to cross party lines).

Secondly, I don't agree that society by itself will right this wrong - at least, not within an acceptable timeframe.

scottishmummy Sun 14-Jun-09 22:21:08

yes new fangled linguistic nuances! i hear some skirts women even use jokey parlance without expecting to get head jumped upon

scottishmummy Sun 14-Jun-09 22:22:25

no chance of agreement on tactics here
but i do agree politics is a bear pit

dittany Sun 14-Jun-09 22:25:02

Well you can call it new fangled linguistic nuance if you want, although I think you might find your tongue in knots after saying it.

I'd call it old-fashioned common or garden misogyny however. "Skirt" is a nasty term for women, probably one you'll find bandied around in most of our political parties though.

scottishmummy Sun 14-Jun-09 22:27:17

cant hang about im googling plane tickets to oppresive-regimes-R-US

abraid Mon 15-Jun-09 09:35:05

Iran looks lively at the moment. Promise you won't book for Teheran.

EachPeachPearMum Wed 17-Jun-09 21:42:12

Is it really necessary to have half of our elected representatives being female?

10% of the population are convicted criminals, but I wouldn't advocate 10% of MPs or councillors being criminals <<thinks>>.... there's probably a really droll comment in there somewhere...

nenaday Mon 15-Jul-13 12:55:03

Counting Women In: a charter for equality, was started in 2011 by, among others, the Centre for Women and Democracy, the Electoral Reform Society, the Fawcett Society, and the Hansard Society. This is very much like the 300 Group in both its aims and members, and just like the 300G was launched at Westminster with MPs from all major parties present.It has a website, and people can become members.

In answer to a question further down.... each party selects candidates differently. The Labour Party introduced All-Women shortlists in a limited number of constituencies prior to the 1997 election, and then a time-limited law that would permit parties to use measures to promote female candidacy until 2015.

Opposition to such measures assumes that present practices are fair and democratic. They simply are not.Apart from general processes that tend to exclude people who are not white, professional, male, able bodied and young-ish, overt discimination takes place, although not very publically as selection committees are not very public affairs. The Fawcett Society sponsored stunning research by Joni Lovenduski and others around the 2002 election, which can probably still be accessed through their website.

nenaday Mon 15-Jul-13 14:10:01

Re comments from Policywonk.... yes, South Africa, like some 60 other countries operates a form of quota. Some countries that operate a gender quota also operate quotas for other groups (ethnic, religious etc). Most quotas are voluntary and at party level for the selection of candidates. Some entail seats set aside for women (India and Pakistan), and some countries have legislated for quotas (France has legislation for "Parity"). Worth noting that the Labour Party has used measures to promote the selection of female candidates in Scotland for the Scottish Parliament, and in Wales for the Welsh Assembly.
The Women's Budget projects that PolicyWonk refers to are quite common. South Africa, Uganda, Australia and the UK have them along with many other countries. The Women's Budget Group in the UK objected to this government's first budget in court on the grounds that it had not been tested to ensure that it did not have unfairly gendered outcomes. The finding was in favour of the WBG (supported by the Fawcett Society among others) and against the government. I expect details of this are on the Fawcett website. It is interesting to read just how biased the budgetary outcomes were against women.

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