Gender and Politics in the media

Gender Politics at Edinburgh

Meryl Kenny (UNSW) and Fiona Mackay (Edinburgh)

The modest levels of female representation at Westminster stand in sharp contrast to the Nordic levels of representation achieved in the Scottish Parliament. Yet, as the political representation of women continues to stall across Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, campaigners and gender equality advocates are demanding tougher action, including the prospect of mandatory forms of candidate quotas.[1] Why haven’t gender quotas or gender-balanced representation ‘caught on’ across parties or different political levels? And what should happen next to take the issue of women’s representation forward?

New research, published online in Parliamentary Affairs this month, seeks to answer these questions. Drawing on election data from Westminster, Scottish Parliament, local government and European parliament elections since 1992, our research finds that:

1. Quotas have not caught on across political parties. For example, the SNP has not implemented…

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