Gender and Politics in the media

UK: Farage: I’m Making Sure Women Are Taking Over Ukip. Caroline Spelman joins all-women Tory shortlists calls .

Labour women candidates expected to be elected in record numbers The Guardian The Labour party is on track for record numbers of women to win seats in Westminster and Brussels in forthcoming elections, party data shows. The findings will put more pressure on Conservatives after MP Anne McIntosh was deselected by her local association this month and announcements from three new Tory women MPs that they will step down next year.

More than half of Labour’s parliamentary candidates selected in 106 key target seats in next year’s general election are women. Of the 57 chosen, 51 were from all-women shortlists. More than two in five Labour candidates selected are female, while half the candidates the party is fielding in the European elections in May are women. By contrast, fewer than three in 10 parliamentary candidates selected by the Conservative Party so far are women. One-third of its MEP candidates are female and just 27% of those candidates ranked first or second place on regional lists are women.

Caroline Spelman returned to the backbenches in 2012

Caroline Spelman joins calls for all-women Tory shortlists BBC News Calls are growing in the Conservative Party for it to consider all-women shortlists to select candidates to fight the next general election.

The party has always resisted such a move, saying candidates should be selected solely on merit.

But there are concerns leader David Cameron’s efforts to get more Tory women into the Commons have stalled.

Former party chairman Caroline Spelman told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme all-women shortlists should be considered.

She said it was not necessarily the best solution but “it is one of the measures on a spectrum of positive discrimination” that might address the problem.

“You shouldn’t rule it out,” she told presenter Carolynn Quinn.

“Personally I’m not opposed to the all-women shortlist.

Call for Conservatives to adopt 50% female shortlists The Guardian The Conservatives should bring in shortlists for prospective MPs with equal numbers of male and female candidates to improve the gender balance in the party, one of David Cameron’s former cabinet ministers has said.

Caroline Spelman, a former environment secretary, said nobody could argue with a 50:50 gender split for candidates, and the party should not rule out the possibility of all-female shortlists.

At the 2010 election, Cameron introduced an “A-list” of priority candidates that was roughly equally split between men and women. The number of female Conservative MPs rose from 17 to 48. However, the system was dropped after the last election, and fewer than three in 10 candidates selected to stand in 2015 are women.

Nigel Farage: I’m Making Sure Women Are Taking Over Ukip Huffington Post UK Women are “slowly but surely” taking over Ukip and will be the face of the party in the run up to May’s European elections, Nigel Farage has said.

The Ukip leader said female candidates would “dominate election coverage” for the party over the next four months as a direct result of his leadership.

“Nobody has done more in Ukip to promote women than I have,” he said. “When you get the results from European elections you’ll be astonished to see as many women as men in the top slots in Ukip, things have changed.”

The Ukip leader told BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour on Friday: “The women are slowly but surely taking over Ukip.”

Nick Clegg’s rivals for the Lib Dems leadership told to rev up The Independent …One long-serving MP said that should the Lib Dems’ general election result prove as disastrous as current forecasts suggest, Mr Farron would have built up a huge advantage over potential rivals. These could also include International Development minister Lynne Featherstone, but, like the other six female Lib Dem MPs, she faces a struggle to hold on to her seat.

“People are beginning to say that the contenders need to start their preparations,” said a party source. “There’s been the odd observation on this made in the bars and tea rooms of Parliament. Davey, Carmichael, Alexander and Featherstone are all inside Clegg’s government circle, so there’s a real risk if they do anything overt. Farron is an outsider with a reasonably prickly relationship with Clegg so has more freedom and space.

Ex-St Helens Councillor’s daughter joins race to be Labour candidate St Helens Star THE daughter of a former St Helens councillor is the latest to add her name to the growing list of women keen on replacing outgoing Labour MP Shaun Woodward.

Eleanor Blackburn, 34, who is originally from Garswood, is a council officer in Warrington where she is partnership project manager.

She follows St Helens-born Catherine McDonald, a Labour councillor in Southwark in London, in announcing her intention to put her name forward to seek the party’s nomination for the St Helens South and Whiston ward.

Labour care boost ‘would get 570000 mums in jobs’ A Labour plan to extend free ­childcare could help more than 500,000 women find jobs and tackle the ­“motherhood pay penalty”.

Just 58 per cent of mums whose youngest child is between three and five go to work, compared to Europe’s 64 per cent average.

And a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research has revealed the cost of a nursery place is one reason, with a ­part-time spot soaring 77 per cent in a decade to more than £100 a week.

Labour aims to extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for three and ­four-year-olds whose parents have jobs.

The IPPR said free care could help tackle the issue.

It found that if the employment rate among mums matched that of women without young children, there would be 570,000 more in work.

David Cameron Will Suffer ‘Women Backlash’ At Next Election, Warns Unison Boss Dave Prentis Huffington Post UK  …The government faces a backlash from women at the next general election because of the way they have been hit by cuts in public sector jobs and services, a union leader has warned.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said women were in the “eye of the storm” over the coalition’s austerity drive.

He told the union’s women’s conference in Brighton: “It will take more than a pair of wellies to protect David Cameron and his party from the voter backlash from women everywhere.”

Women made up two thirds of the public services workforce, relied on the services most and cared for the elderly. But they have been hit by cuts to council budgets, affecting the work of home carers and women’s refuges, he said.


WOMEN’S LIVES: Why we need more women on our local councils Donegal Democrat There are 40 candidates nominated so far for the elections to Donegal County Council in May of this year and only six are women. On the current council there are two women and 27 men.

The 5050 Group is campaigning to encourage and support more women in politics and public life. The new gender quota legislation, which will ensure more women candidates, does not take effect until the next general election.

However, the impact of the legislation is beginning to be felt. Across the country so far, almost 23% of all local election candidates are women; this compares with 17% five years ago in 2009.

FG anger over ‘chauvinistic’ system Irish Independent FINE Gael TDs and senators have slammed the ongoing “chauvinistic” ethos of Leinster House. The scathing comments come amid growing concern within Fine Gael over the difficulties the party is experiencing in attracting sufficient women candidates for the local and European elections. Fine Gael sources noted the party “increasingly looks likes we are just a party for old men”.

However, when it comes to the local elections, with over 90pc of Fine Gael conventions concluded, just 21.2pc of the 411 Fine Gael candidates are female.

By contrast, their Coalition colleagues in Labour already have 43 female candidates out of 140 council aspirants and will comfortably exceed the quota.

The shortfall of female representation is deeply embarrassing for Fine Gael as the party battles a growing image problem on the gender front.

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