Towards Equality

Just over half of the adult UK population are women, while almost 80% of members of both Houses of Parliament are men. Below are some of the recent steps that have been taken to encourage men and women to play a more equal part in UK politics and government.

The Speaker’s Conference on Parliamentary Representation

Why have women and some other types of people in the UK found it more difficult to become candidates at parliamentary elections? To try to answer this question and others, the House of Commons set up a special committee, called a Speaker’s Conference.
Read the practical suggestions for change that the Speaker’s conference made in its Final Report.

Every two years a debate takes place in the Commons to review progress on the Conference recommendations. Read the debates that took place on 12th January 2012  and 27th February 2014 .

'Improving Parliament' report

On 14 July 2014 the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women in Parliament published their report: Improving Parliament: creating a better and more representative House.

Political Parties and Women

Political parties have tried different methods to increase the number of their women candidates and elected representatives. These are described in the Commons Library Research Note: All-women shortlists.

Specific opportunities for women are being offered by some of the political parties and groups that have members in the UK Parliament. You can find out more by following the links below.
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Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at Parliament

Clerk’s Apprentices Scheme: Ten young people across London and the South East have been taken on for a twelve-month placement in the House of Commons Service.

Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme offers ten paid placements to people from more diverse backgrounds to make access to Parliament more representative of the UK population.

Diversity & Inclusion in the Commons

Working for the House of Lords

Measuring the Gender Gap

  • World Economic Forum report

    The World Economic Forum has introduced a framework for measuring gender-based disparities in countries across the world and tracking their progress.

    Read the Global Gender Gap Report 2014

  • European Institute for Gender Equality

    In June 2013, the European Institute for Gender Equality produced the European Union Gender Equality Index. The Index measures the gender gap in all member states of the EU.

Further reading

Related external links

IPU Gender Partnership

Read the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s plan of action to encourage a partnership between men and women in politics and read their report: Women in Parliament in 2013: The Year In Review

41% of MEPs elected in the UK in May 2104 were women – an increase of 8% on 2009. Read the new report from the Centre for Women and Democracy.

Counting Women in