Women are being squeezed out of politics, report finds

Report shows Britain fares worse than many other western countries in terms of female representation

A shocking report has found women are being squeezed out from positions of power in politics and public life.

The report – Sex and Power: Who Runs Britain? – published by Counting Women In, a coalition of five organisations including the Fawcett Society and Unlock Democracy, has found the UK comes 60th out of 190 countries in terms of female representation in the democratic system, a steep drop from 33rd place in 2001.

Of other western countries only Ireland and Italy fared worse.

Since 2000 the percentage of female MPs in Westminster has increased by just under four per cent since 2000, while the proportion of women in the cabinet has actually decreased by 4.3 per cent. Recently, Prime Minister David Cameron admitted he hadn’t appointed enough women in his cabinet.

Ceri Goddard, chief executive of campaigning charity the Fawcett Society, said: ‘The number of women in the cabinet is at a 10-year low. Failure to increase the number of women around the top table of politics sends a message to the next generation that excluding women from positions of power is acceptable.’

Speaking to the Guardian, Alex Runswick of Unlock Democracy said: ‘The lack of female involvement … is a canary in the mining shaft, a particularly visible example of how the system fails to represent people more widely.

‘Our democracy and public life are weaker through missing the skills, experience and talents of over half the population. We need parliament and politicians to take urgent action.’

In terms of things that can be done to get more women into parliament the report recommends considering quotas and a government-led campaign to increase the number of women standing in the next general election, taking place in 2015.

What do you think needs to be done to get more women into positions of power? Let us know in the comments below.

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