Despite breaking my right clavicle I managed to get quilt number three finished. After all the bling of the gender pay gap quilt I fancied sewing something a bit simpler. I chose a black and white colour scheme and picked a few salient facts about politics.
There’s a lot more information I could have added but I want my quilts to make people think about the topic and I think sometimes just providing a few facts can lead people down the road of seeking further knowledge.
I though it was important to mention the Representation of the People Act which is a 100 years old next year. This was the start of equality of representation in politics. I followed this with the statistics from the 2015 general election when 29.4% of elected MPs were women. Finally I included the total number of women that have been elected MPs 456.
I still find those facts shocking and wonder what might have been different over the past 99 years if we’d had political representation with a 50:50 gender split and what effect maintaining the status quo will have in the future. What missed opportunities there might be?
There are of course those in our society who don’t see this inequality as as problem. They point to the progress made in many areas of legislation that benefit women and promote equality. They also inevitably focus on the UK having two female Prime Ministers as evidence of this being a non issue in their opinion.
Regarding the first point I would acknowledge that there has indeed been a lot of positive legislation passed but might there have been more or might current legislation have gone further if we had a 50:50 parliament. Would we have focused on different problems in our society ? would we have developed different solutions?
Regarding the second point, the fact that we have had two women lead the country. It is frankly meaningless unless those women acknowledge the barriers to equal representation and enact change to open the doors for all women. I don’t think either of our female Prime Ministers have done that.
For me fundamentally it is the fact that 51% of the population are women and we are not being represented equally. 100 years ago it was because we were actively barred from political representation. Today it’s more complex but I don’t think our society can be its best unless we are all represented politically so I think we need to fix it and maintaining the status quo is not an option.
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