Campaigners have called on the government to mark the 90th anniversary of universal women’s suffrage by requiring all political parties to publish data on the proportion of women among their parliamentary and local government candidates.
Data on how many women are selected to stand for election is not officially collated, with critics claiming the lack of information was preventing proper scrutiny and “holding back progress in this country”.
Women make up just a third of elected politicians in the UK despite winning equal voting rights with the passage of the Equal Franchise Act in 1928.
In Scotland, concern has grown that early progress in boosting gender equality in politics has stalled. The past two Scottish elections have returned the same proportion of women to sit in Holyrood. Fewer women serve as MSPs now than after the first devolved Scottish election in 1999, with the proportion of women at Holyrood peaking in 2003 at 39.5 per cent.
Just 32 per cent of MPs are women, although that figure has risen steadily in successive elections. Across the UK, 33 per cent of elected councillors are women.
Jess Garland, director of policy and research at the Electoral Reform Society, said: “On the 90th anniversary of equal suffrage, it is a sad fact that no clear way of knowing where we stand in terms of women’s representation in politics.
“Now that companies have revealed their gender pay gaps, it’s time UK parties tackled the inequality in their own back yards. We’ve seen businesses play their part – now government and political parties must play theirs in showing their diversity figures.
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