My International Women’s Day message to David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown their spin-doctors and Party Chairs - in the words of the Suffragettes - we want deeds not words - reform British politics.
International Women’s Day is a good time to ask, why in March 2010 are there still only 126 women out of 646 Members of the British Parliament? The answer? We have had cowardly and insufficient ongoing committment from men in political power to make it a priority to radically update and reform British politics whether on women’s equality, electoral reform or MPs' expenses.
The shameful under-representation of women in the House of Commons will almost certainly continue in the results of the upcoming British election regardless of which Party wins.
One look around the world shows that in politics, no actions, let alone exhortation, will ever succeed without some form of quota as a perhaps temporary breakthrough measure. Countries with more than 30% women in parliament share two things in common: their electoral system uses some form of proportional representation and they use quotas.
By comparison to legislatures with over 40% women Members such as Sweden, Rwanda, South Africa, Netherlands, Finland and Norway, far too little advance has been made in the UK in women’s democracy over the past 30 years. The UK is not even in the list of 24 parliaments with over 30% women. We are far short of the gender equality goals of 50/50 women and men set by women and supportive men campaigners when we started the all party 300 GROUP campaign in 1980.