Socialist Presidential candidate François Hollande has promised an equal number of men and women in cabinet, and to reintroduce a ministry of women's rights. Hollande has also promised to enforce laws on equal pay for men and women, and vowed to enforce the law on political parties fielding equal numbers of men and women in parliamentary elections.
Cameron and Clegg could start with a pledge to ring-fence seats with women MPs from the proposed cull of 40 Parliamentary seats. UK cannot afford to lose women MPs through collateral damage. There are only 22% the House of Commons.Neither Nick Clegg nor David Cameron seem even to be aware of the fate facing their Parties in being so politically, economically and morally ignorant or apparently gender-blind.
Women have been excluded advertently or inadvertently (either way is just as bad) from the inner-coterie at the top of the Coalition. The negotiations for the Conservative /Liberal Democrat Coalition were hammered out by men in the Conservatives and men in the LibDems, with not a woman on either negotiating team.
The Coalition’s inner Cabinet coterie known as the ‘Quad’ are still composed exclusively of men : David Cameron, Nick Clegg, George Osborne and Danny Alexander. These are the men who were responsible for the Budget.
The down-stream results of so few women in Parliament and Government are proving disastrous. There is apparent blindness by politicians to the negative chain reaction that many of their policies trigger – 40% of all working women are employed in the hard-hit public sector, increasing rather than reducing the cost to the public purse. Female unemployment is at a 23-year high, not least because two out of three jobs in the public sector are held by women. And it's far from over.. The Office for Budget Responsibility anticipates that the public sector will lose 710,000 jobs and living standards will continue to fall until 2013.
Campaigning groups the Fawcett Society and the Women's Budget Group, warn more than 70% of the £18bn cuts to social security and welfare will fall on women.