The Robert Schuman Foundation have recently published some research which compares the level of ministers and members of parliament across the EU and show how many are women. The UK comes in below the EU average on all three indicators that they use:
Women ministers – EU average: 25.75% // UK: 17.39%
Women in national parliament – EU average: 24.32% // UK: 21.88%
Women in European parliament – EU average: 34.92% // UK: 33.33%
Which countries came top? You won’t be surprised to hear it was Finland for ministers, Sweden for national parliamentarians and Finland for women in the EP. Bottom? Hungary for ministers, Malta for the national parliament and Malta again for the EP.
Interesting debate going on over on the Guardian website, about the position of women in society and especially politics. I was astonished to be told when I took on this post that I am the first woman head of media in London. I never thought to be the first woman anything in my life – I kind of assumed that the generation before had done all the trail-blazing that had to be done. I’m kind of proud of it, but also slightly appalled that it’s taken to 2008 to get there.
Margot Wallstrom was over in London a few weeks ago and during an interview she made an interesting point – is it any wonder that people feel out of touch with the EU when you see the “family photo” from the summit and it is overwhelmingly middle-aged white men? How can you expect young people, people of colour or women to associate themselves with that when they don’t see anyone that could possibly represent them. I’m not a fan of tokenism – I don’t agree that “women” vote a particular way or “young people” – of course there are differences of views across our gender and within different ethnic groups. But if they see *no-one* that seems to have the slightest clue where they are coming from, it’s off-putting at best, disenfranchising at worst. Are we ever going to get to a stage where people don’t comment when all the people representing the Commission at an event, from Commissioner down, are women? I was at an event like that a weekor so ago – would it have invited comment if we had all been men?