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are all women shortlists a good idea

(119 Posts)
lucydogz Mon 24-Apr-17 20:24:56


Rachel Reeves saying that, where a Labour female MP has stood down, the party will have all-women short lists. Obviously, where a male Labour MP stands down, the short list wll be mixed.

Just as I think, well, I'm not keen on Corbyn, but we need a strong opposition, along comes something like this. Surely Labour should be looking for the best candidates at a time like this? If I was a voter, I'd want my choice of candidate based on ability, not gender.

thatstoast Mon 24-Apr-17 20:30:13

I think they are a good idea. We need a more diverse parliament and letting old white men pick more old white men isn't the way to go about it.

lucydogz Mon 24-Apr-17 20:33:13

old white men! you clearly haven't been to my CLP. In fact, how many have you been to to make that allegation?

Believeitornot Mon 24-Apr-17 20:33:36

You kind of need to force equality.

As thatstoast says, old white men will pick old white men or people just like them.

The problem with bias is that you aren't necessarily getting the best candidate even if you think you are.

But I do think they should make the quickest choice!

lucydogz Mon 24-Apr-17 20:35:27

well how come the Tories have managed 2 female leaders without this?

HomityBabbityPie Mon 24-Apr-17 20:35:44

Yes, they're a good idea.

You can't have equality til we have a level playing field and we are nowhere near that at the moment.

lucydogz Mon 24-Apr-17 20:36:42

plus, the old white man thing again - that isn't my CLP experience. It's just a cliche.

iismum Mon 24-Apr-17 20:38:16

Sadly, not only middle-aged white men will pick middle-aged white men. The bias exists in all of us - although a lot of people (mainly men?) have conscious bias as well as the unconscious bias we all have.

If you want the best to be chosen, you have to screw the options to cancel out prejudice. If you don't have things like all female lists the you don't get the best coming to the top, you just get be ones that conform best to people's expectation of what an MP should be like winning.

lucydogz Mon 24-Apr-17 20:38:58

oh well, it must only be me that thinks it makes Labour look as crazy as a box of frogs. I look at great MPs - Dennis Skinner, Frank Field for example and, you know, I don't care that they're old white men.

HomityBabbityPie Mon 24-Apr-17 20:39:23

It's really not a cliche. Statistically it's entirely true. Most politicians are white men.

I grew up in an area where I was one of only four white children in my year at school. That doesn't mean that's the norm just because that was my own experience.

iismum Mon 24-Apr-17 20:40:15

Agh - i mean skew not screw!

iismum Mon 24-Apr-17 20:43:13

Nobody's saying that white men cant be good politicians - just that the current make up of parliament doesn't reflect the talent inherent in the country. Of course people like Dennis Skinner would succeed - it's all the bland ineffectual nameless ones that really aren't more talented than other people who should be replaced by people from other demographics who do have talent.

Unless you think that the current parliamentary mix is an accurate reflection of the talent in the country?

thatstoast Mon 24-Apr-17 20:48:44

Two separate things, I think. Old White Men can make great MPs, I completely agree with that. I'm also 100% sure there's a lot of great women who would make great MPs if they could benefit from the same cultural bias. (Same for all other under-represented groups)

It's not cliche for me. Only this evening, I received my labour leaflet for the 3 old white men who live in the same street and have been councillors forever so bad timing perhaps.

lucydogz Mon 24-Apr-17 20:50:40

what I think is the problem in Parliament is not gender, but class. If MPs should reflect our society, you should have working class only shortlists. Or racially-restricted shortlists. I believe shortlists are anti-democratic.

sniffle12 Mon 24-Apr-17 20:51:53

I think that greater public involvement in the selection of candidates would be better. I don't even actually know how the candidates for parliament are selected. If it takes all-women shortlists to convince whoever does it to pick a woman, then the problem is clearly somewhere in that process...

noblegiraffe Mon 24-Apr-17 20:54:49

The evidence clearly shows that if a seat is winnable, then the person selected will most likely fit the usual politician model - white and male.

Where a woman is selected, it's most likely to be in an unwinnable seat.

Unless measures like all-women short lists are taken, we will never have a hope of even approaching equal representation.

I felt the same way as you until I read all the evidence. The selection process is biased against women.

thatstoast Mon 24-Apr-17 20:58:17

I believe shortlists are anti-democratic

Do you mean female only or other 'designed' short lists? Or Short lists in general. We could aim for a complete removal of party politics and elect candidates as independents. Government would be less efficient and it would probably select towards wealthy people even more than the current situation.

I wouldn't be against BME short lists. Working class would be difficult to define though.

lucydogz Mon 24-Apr-17 20:59:44

Sorry - my mistake - I should have said restricted shortlists.

HomityBabbityPie Mon 24-Apr-17 20:59:56

We should have BME shortlists.

You are living in a fool's paradise if you don't think gender is an issue in Westminster.

noblegiraffe Mon 24-Apr-17 21:00:19

The Conservative party do (did?) something similar to force increased diversity in their candidates, they had an A-list of preferred candidates who were put into selection for winnable seats.

slattedblind Mon 24-Apr-17 21:03:23

Lots of things make Labour look mad, this isn't one of them. This makes them look more sane IMO.

Anon1234567890 Tue 25-Apr-17 12:22:33

I guess women should just accept they are not as capable as men and can't compete with them on a level playing field.

noblegiraffe Tue 25-Apr-17 12:30:55

Well that's just wrong. What some people need to accept is that sexism is an issue, the playing field isn't level, and for women to stand a chance of equal representation then the odds have to occasionally be stacked in their favour. Men have had plenty of all-men shortlists in their time after all.

HomityBabbityPie Tue 25-Apr-17 12:33:22

The playing field is NOT level. Why that's so hard for some people to get their heads round I don't know.

Hence the need for all women shortlists.

Trills Tue 25-Apr-17 12:40:54

The problem with bias is that you aren't necessarily getting the best candidate even if you think you are.


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