Members and Members’ Staff Interview Project
The Administration Committee in the previous parliament recommended to the House of Commons Management Board (now the Executive Committee) that it replace the annual survey of Members and Members' Staff with a detailed series of interviews. The initial set of interviews took place in 2013/14.
This review of House services and how well they meet Members’ needs, indicated particular issues that might affect gender representation in Parliament. On 12 May 2014, the Committee endorsed the approach of seeking qualitative research on House services and agreed that two smaller-scale interview projects should take place in 2014/15 focusing on women’s experience in Parliament and separately, the experience of MPs standing down. This report presents the findings on women’s experience in Parliament.
The full text of the report can be viewed here:
The study was designed to enable Members of Parliament to share and explore their own experiences and perceptions about women MPs’ experience in Parliament and how the House might best support their needs. A qualitative approach was taken to allow participants to focus on those issues of most importance to them, and to obtain more nuanced and complete accounts than would be possible using a survey with closed questions. In total, between November 2014 and March 2015, 17 one-to-one interviews, one paired interview, and one focus group (with four MPs) took place, involving a total of 23 Members. To ensure that different groups of Members were included, the sampling frame for Member interviews was stratified according to gender, political party, age and ethnicity. Participants were then selected at random from within these strata. Female Members were intentionally heavily over-represented to ensure that their perceptions were captured.
Commenting on the research, Clerk of the House, David Natzler said:
- “I am grateful to the Administration Committee for commissioning this project and to all the House staff involved for their hard work in producing this report. I would also like to thank all the Members who gave up their time to participate.
- The report highlights some of the practical issues which have the potential to affect gender representation in Parliament. The House Service takes the challenges facing Members with young families and women Members very seriously. We are exploring how we can best address these and how the House of Commons can make Parliament a more gender-sensitive institution.
- Each Department will be returning to the Committee with proposals to address the issues identified in the report which are matters for the House authorities.
- Gathering experiences of women Members and learning from them are the latest in a series of steps we have taken towards ensuring that the House Service continues to adapt the facilities and services we provide to the changing needs of Members."
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