Today, equality is a given. As women we expect to be respected, valued and esteemed. Evidently, there will be the few misogynist men, grumbling angrily on their sofas with their beers, ever exclaiming that ‘women should be working in kitchens and looking after the children’. However, we are scientists and doctors, actresses and musicians, construction workers and big-time corporate managers. We have the opportunity to be what we want and who we want. We are fully represented in every field of work, whatever it may be. But are we?

 

According to the CFWD (The Centre for Women and Democracy), Britain is falling down the global league tables when it comes to the representation of women in politics. We have slipped from an already appalling place of 33rd in 2000, to 65th in 2014.

 

Katie Ghose, the Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: ‘With Britain to 65th in the world ranking of parliaments by female representation this year, patience is wearing thin. Getting more women into politics isn’t just about equality and fairness – it’s about not wasting the potential, talent and expertise of half the population. It’s time all concerned recognize the urgency of this situation, and work together to pull down the barriers to women participating in politics. For the sake of good government, we cannot afford to ignore the problem any longer’.

 

Currently, women in Parliament comprise only: 22 per cent of Cabinet Ministers, 23 per cent of Members of Parliament and 23 per cent of Members of the House of Lords.

 

Hence today, we still face yesterday’s problems. Although, as women we have come far in politics, palpably we still have far to go. Women are seriously underrepresented not just in Parliament but in local governments, particularly in leadership roles.

 

Thus, the inevitable question we must ask is: who to blame? Is it the fault of the parties for not being willing to promote women candidates? Or is it our fault as women, who have been reluctant to face this problem and do something about it?

 

Alexandra Runswick, Chief Executive of Unlock Democracy, shared her opinion: ‘The lack of female involvement in UK politics is a particularly visible example of how the system fails to represent people more widely. It is not enough to recognize the problem and simply hope that things will improve; we need Parliament and politicians to take urgent action’.

 

Perhaps, we can say that political parties should ‘buck up’ and aim to increase the number of women candidates at elections. Possibly, we can say that the media should cover all political issues which include women and their views. Even so, is not the first step to becoming prominent figures as women in politics; to have an opinion? How can we expect parties to increase the number of women candidates when no woman is willing to step up and be a candidate?

 

Last year, 9.1 million women did not even vote. Seemingly, we have to be patronized by the likes of Harriet Harman with her pink buses, hoping to talk to women ‘around the kitchen table’. It seems as if it is perceived that we as women have no opinion on politics. Is this how you want to be viewed? We, as much as anyone deserve to have a voice, so take the opportunity, if not to be an active member of a political party then a voter who takes elections seriously. The 2015 General Election presents the next big opportunity for us to make progress and achieve full representation in politics. So in the words of Samuel Beckett: ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better’.