Scottish Parliament only 36% women but 0% women of colour. BBC report

(22 Posts)
334bu Mon 22-Mar-21 09:07:35

www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-scotland-56442463

Bad enough when only just over a third women but no women of colour ever at Holyrood? This has to change.

OP’s posts: |
Tibtom Mon 22-Mar-21 09:12:59

Scottish Parliament is 64% men and no women of colour.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 22-Mar-21 09:16:26

Surely some of them could just identify as?

Tibtom Mon 22-Mar-21 09:19:10

ItsAllGoingToBeFine

Surely some of them could just identify as?

Quite right. The BBC have made quite a few assumptions there.

whyamidoingthistomyself Mon 22-Mar-21 09:24:10

Given the small ( around 1%?) Of Scottish population which is not white , and around 130 members of Scottish Parliament, and an underrepresentation of women 0 women of colour is not statistically off?

Which then raises the questions around how best to ensure representation for very minority groups

sleepyhead Mon 22-Mar-21 09:32:43

Kaukab Stewart is standing for the SNP in Glasgow Kelvin as Sandra White is standing down.

Sandra White got a fairly healthy majority (2nd at the last election was Patrick Harvie when the Greens were riding high) so hopefully she will win.

NatalieShortman Mon 22-Mar-21 10:01:14

Given the small ( around 1%?) Of Scottish population which is not white , and around 130 members of Scottish Parliament, and an underrepresentation of women 0 women of colour is not statistically off?

That was my first thought although apparently Scotland is 4% non-white so is likely to be statistically significant. I agree that the difference is easier to spot for women of all races as a group though, because we should be in a slight majority rather than being around 1/3.

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334bu Mon 22-Mar-21 10:35:04

But why has this minority only ever been represented by men? Silly question I know.

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ArabellaScott Mon 22-Mar-21 10:51:51

I think the issue of women in politics is getting worse.

Not only do we have what seems to me to be increasingly hostile threats and abuse, but we have males identifying into the group and taking spaces that were meant for females. I'm sure transwomen need and deserve political representation, but it shouldn't be at the cost of women participating.

Women have specific needs, issues and concerns. Many of these related directly to our biological sex - healthcare, pregnancy, childbirth, for example. All of these issues make participation in politics and public life harder to begin with, and are under represented in govt as only a woman who has experienced, say, post partum depression, will understand the implications and impact of these sex-specific issues.

sleepyhead Mon 22-Mar-21 10:52:46

Because of the intersection of racism and sexism meaning that a woman of colour is likely to be more marginalised than either a man of colour or a white woman?

Do I get a prize?

I've just checked out the candidates at the top of the SNP lists (I know I'm concentrating on SNP, but this is just because I know they promised to prioritise POC and disabled people for their list candidates) and 3 regions have WOC at the top of the list so that's a decent change.

ArabellaScott Mon 22-Mar-21 10:59:12

As for women of colour, good luck to the women standing, I hope we see some winning seats, soon.

It would only take one or two women to bring numbers up to reflect the population, and there should definitely be representation from different ethnic groups.

From: www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z2m8cj6/revision/6

'As of the latest figures, from 2015, minority ethnic groups represented 3.7% of the Scottish population. With only 2 MSPs from ethnic minority backgrounds (1.5% of Parliament) there is still further to go to represent these interests.'

Another issue is class, of course:

'A full 20% of MSPs were privately educated compared with just 4% of the Scottish population'

As of the 2016 election, the percentage of female MSPs stands per political party stands at: –

Labour – 46%
SNP – 43%
Conservatives – 19%
Greens – 17%
Liberal Democrats – 0%

Handclap for the Libdems, there.

This article from 2019 supports my feeling that things are going a bit backwards:

'Diversity among the Scottish Parliament's elected representatives has "gone backwards" in some ways, MSPs have warned in a new BBC documentary.'

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-48730618

PaleBlueMoonlight Mon 22-Mar-21 11:06:27

On the privately educated front (in particular), what do those stats refer to? A much higher proportion of people had some private education, than are in private education at any one time. The Bitesize article frustratingly doesn’t give any sources or explanations of what they mean by the terms used.

CharlieParley Mon 22-Mar-21 11:42:46

The stats are:

2.6% Asian
0.6% African or Carribean
0.3% mixed or multiple ethnic groups
0.4% other ethnic group

129 MSPs times 3.9% equals 5 MSPs

Given the sex distribution, we should have 66 female MSPs, of which just over two-and-a-half ought to be from a BAME background. (If we're doing pure maths. Obviously there are no 0.5 people.)

For the sake of clarity, let's say that we ought to have a minimum of two and a maximum of three BAME women in parliament to be representative of the population. But if you want to specifically have a black and female MSPs, just one would be required to be representative.

(And if we want fair representation in the Scottish Parliament, there's also the equal-sized group of white non-British residents who are, after all, allowed to vote and stand as candidates if they have leave to remain in the country. None of whom have ever been represented by a female MSP either.)

CharlieParley Mon 22-Mar-21 11:44:28

That's based on 2011 census data. I expect the new census may shift the figures - ethnic minorities doubled between 2001 and 2011.

MissBarbary Mon 22-Mar-21 11:51:06

But if you want to specifically have a black and female MSPs, just one would be required to be representative

What do you mean by "black"? If you mean African/ Caribbean origin given only 0.6% of the population in Scotland is that ethnicity why prioritise black over women of Indian, Pakistani or Chinese ethnicity?

Or are you lumping them in as "black"?

CharlieParley Mon 22-Mar-21 12:12:49

MissBarbary

*But if you want to specifically have a black and female MSPs, just one would be required to be representative*

What do you mean by "black"? If you mean African/ Caribbean origin given only 0.6% of the population in Scotland is that ethnicity why prioritise black over women of Indian, Pakistani or Chinese ethnicity?

Or are you lumping them in as "black"?

Yes, I'm specifically referring to the 0.6% African and Caribbean as black (as that's how the statisticians define it). And no, I'm not "lumping them together" as my previous comment makes clear the biggest group is Asian at 2.6%. And this cannot, quite obviously, be included in that 0.6%.

As to why I separated this out, it's because bizarrely, even though we have far more people who have Asian origins than African/Caribbean, the race discourse imported from the US focuses almost exclusively on the latter even when the British media engage in it.

Which in my view is unhelpful in a Scottish context.

ArabellaScott Mon 22-Mar-21 13:16:04

Agree entirely, Charlie. We have a very small black population in Scotland. Doesn't mean they aren't due representation, but a far larger demographic is Asian, specifically Pakistani and Indian.

I do wonder, too, if the census accurately represents the ethnicity of the populace. Last time there was some question whether BAME people were less likely to complete it, so the true proportions may be slightly different.

Frustrating that there aren't references in the bitesize article, PaleBlue I agree! I did try the Scottish govt website for data but find it quite unwieldy and hard to navigate - in fact I think htere are sort of two half-arsed websites instead of one.

MissBarbary Mon 22-Mar-21 13:48:59

As to why I separated this out, it's because bizarrely, even though we have far more people who have Asian origins than African/Caribbean, the race discourse imported from the US focuses almost exclusively on the latter even when the British media engage in it

Which in my view is unhelpful in a Scottish context

"Unhelpful" doesn't begin to cover it. The whole BLM narrative feels to me imposed on Scotland and just doesn't fit at all.

There are places in Scotland which simply have no black population at all whilst having had Indian, Pakistani or Chinese for several generations. What are the issues they face? And are their issues class/economic based rather than race?

NonnyMouse1337 Mon 22-Mar-21 17:45:54

Personally, I think the focus should first be on making political life and political office better for women in general. There is so much abuse, harassment and vitriol against female politicians. Women should not have to put up with this kind of behaviour, irrespective of their political allegiances or their background.

There is also the issue of work and family life balance. The long hours and hectic workloads won't be palatable for many women who have young children. I don't think it's something that can ever really be solved, but it should be possible to come up with some solutions to mitigate the impact, such as more flexibility in remote working.

It's more important to fix these fundamental issues first so that more women (of all backgrounds) feel able to participate.

Also mentoring schemes might be a good way to encourage women in building confidence to get into higher levels of politics.

334bu Mon 22-Mar-21 17:56:36

Maybe, now Parliament has had to adapt to MSPs working remotely because of Covid, they could take this new expertise and adapt it to make Hollywood more female friendly.

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ArabellaScott Mon 22-Mar-21 18:02:35

Agree, Nonny. I wouldn't dream of getting involved with politics on even the most minor level for exactly those reasons.

A cynic might say that suits some people very well...

merrymouse Mon 22-Mar-21 18:28:15

Would another issue be that ethnic minority groups are concentrated in particular constituencies?

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