Conservatives have set out an ambition for women to make up half of its list of approved candidates for Westminster elections.
The 50% figure was announced by party chairman Brandon Lewis, who said that the party needed to “do more” to make sure its gender balance better reflects the society it seeks to represent…
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Mr Lewis made clear Tories were not following Labour’s lead in operating all-women shortlists for candidates.
“In terms of quotas and shortlists, I think that just masks the underlying problems within organisations,” he said. “We need to change the culture across our political landscape, get that systemic change, not just a short-term fix.” [J4MB: WHY do they need to do that?]
Mr Lewis said that two out of the three Conservative candidates selected so far for the general election expected in 2022 have been women. [J4MB: A huge degree of anti-male discrimination.]
“This is a promising start,” he said. “But in order to reach our ambition, we need to have a wider strategy.”
He promised further action to “level the playing field” between male and female candidates…
Mr Lewis’s announcement was welcomed by women’s rights pressure group the Fawcett Society. [J4MB emphasis]
But the society’s chief executive, Sam Smethers, added: “The challenge now is how they roll this out at constituency level, address attitudinal and procedural barriers and get those women into winnable seats.
What times we live in. The Conservative party’s chairman being applauded by the chief executive of the Fawcett Society.
Two or three years ago Caroline Spelman MP – party chairman in 2008 – admitted on Radio 4 that when she was chairman, men had outnumbered women 10:1 in applying to be prospective parliamentary candidates. I doubt the ratio has changed much in the intervening years.
The calibre of incoming new MPs is set to decline further, and decline dramatically. Those who benefit from anti-meritocratic initiatives are invariably keen to sustain them for others – especially if they’re women.