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what are the arguments against it??
there aren't any are there so why isn't it statutory?
is saying what might be best is to look at is what is dissuading women from wanting to be involved in politics. I realize the 'choice' argument can potentially be quite a nefarious one though.
I'm not qualified enough in anything to actually speak about it but it seems to me like imposing a quota on anything as a way to address diversity isn't actually tackling the root causes of the lack of diversity in the first place?
What if the root cause of the like of diversity is a structural bias at a base level in the system which is then amplified both explicitly & implicitly throughout the rest of the system
Surely tackling the root cause would then be to remove or negate as much of the structural bias from the system as possible ?
I think that's what we're dealing with here - in basic terms we are fed with the information like this;
'what does a person in power look like?'
'Looks like a middle aged white male in a suit'
Therefore we're unconsciously guided towards looking for candidates that fit our preconceived idea
This is why representation is crucial and in a public body of centralised power such as Govt it is necessary to have a gender balance - and this is over and above all those areas that are important to the cohesion of society that get sidelined as 'minority' issues because they pertain to women
I'm out of my depth frankly
This wasn't supposed to be a lecture
Sorry if it comes across like that
I'm just fully aware that my opinions on most subjects that are actually important aren't fully-formed enough to be able to properly defend. I like reading debates here, I rarely if ever actually have anything to contribute though.
or alternatively you could have dual MPs in each constituency
I agree it would be far easier with PR though
and of course, a quota of the women.
when you answered it with your second question
you've lost me ... are you saying that there are no arguments against quotas because it isn't statutory??
Why isn't it statutory?
But it's clearly a bit of needling reply to gain time while he tries to think of a good answer.
then tell us there weren't any? surely that renders the first question completely superfluous
but others might think there are and chose to make them public here
it's rhetorical device - sententia maybe, I forget?
and it's not sententia - something similar
with another rhetorical device! His disingenuous question wasn't really a question at all, it was his way of saying 'I don't like what you're saying, or maybe the way you're saying it' (not sure, brusma could clarify? Feels a bit like we're wasting each others time here, but maybe that's why people come on to this website?)
The 'tone' argument
This is the effect of having CG on these boards all the time.
He's playing the man not the ball
It's just unnecessary hassle.
I mean, it might but then again it might not - the gender bias would still presumably be in the voting process
apropos; in the last general election 16million voters didn't bother voting - two thirds of those were women
I mean the fact it costs money to stand is already something that impinges on the soul of democracy and is wrong. Everyone should be able to stand for election.
And because of that, you can't really mandate the gender or ethnicity of those who are elected.
But in principle it would be good and in theory it should happen automatically that the elected MPs represent the demographics of the people.
I'm talking about equal representation of gender within Parliament
I'd like to keep the conversation away from 'minorities' - women aren't a minority
If by 'breaking democracy' you mean 'correcting structural bias that we have normalised' then I agree otherwise surely all this could do is fix democracy (or be 'a' fix)
It doesn't really matter that women are or aren't a minority, though. The principle of democracy is that anyone can stand for parliament. Political Parties are really a terrible idea and should be abolished so we shouldn't take account of those, if only because by taking them seriously we reinforce a situation in which there are only 2 or 3 parties with a hope of getting elected and we have to look to them to balance things.
Back to the democratic principle: as long as the reason women don't stand isn't The Patriarchy, then we have to accept that we could still have a parliament that is imbalanced along gender lines (fewer men would be possible too).
I don't know that we need quotas so much as a situation where there are no political parties and an impartial pot of tax money that can go aid all possible standers for election, which would naturally begin with the payment for childcare to aid women and men with families to stand.
but it really does
the structures entrench the structural bias
I believe quotas are entirely necessary - in many places - but to start with the basic, most simple organ of representative democracy representing the 50:50 (roughly) gender split of society is a no-brainer surely?
but those are situations in which someone is specifically hiring people, and also a large number of people.
But parliament is run on a different basis. As imaperv says below, the issues are more likely external and should be dealt with to see if that starts to change things. There are, for example, party roles that could be (and may already be) mandated to have quotas, so there is a better split in terms of who picks the prospective MPs.
this still sounds suspiciously like 'we shouldn't make this structural change because it would mean we'd have to change the structure'
We don't have a free, unlimited range of choice when voting for MPs - far, far from it - so I don't know why you'd think there is some element of sacrosanct personal choice that shouldn't be altered
Also, I'm surprised you don't believe in a top-down approach, especially as it doesn't preclude a bottom-up approach in parallel. In fact it probably gives the strength and legitimacy of political will to help drive and support grass roots changes
the main ones anyway. or do they already?
The only way to do it would be to have a certain number of all male and all female ballot papers, but splitting which constituencies were which would be fraught with problems.
And how would the smaller parties find enough people and enough money for two campaigns?
how do you mean 'campaign against each other'?
I'm envisioning each party put forward 1 male & 1 female candidate kind of as a job-share pair MP
as for it being difficult to change things - well, things change all the time. I think if you identify the goal (equal gender representation in Parliament) then you change the structure to accommodate.
Essentially I'm asking 'What are the arguments against structural change to accommodate a desirable goal' and so the general reply 'it's difficult because of the structures already in place' kind of proves the necessity for change no?
And like Theo says, why should equal and proportionate representation stop at gender?
I think the current system is the best way of ensuring people vote for policies rather than candidates. While a 50/50 male female split in parliament would be fair requiring parties to have a male and female candidate in every seat would be a further barrier to entry.
I'm saying it should start there
Not sure I follow the rest of what you're saying here - especially the 'barrier to entry' bit
is naturally better equipped to represent an individual female voter because of gender
I am assuming however that a quota driven gender balanced Parliament is naturally better equipped to represent a numerically gender balanced society - and therefore be better equipped to iron out some of the other imbalances between the genders within that society - both explicit and implicit
replace the Lords with a second house drawn from the entire UK population at random but with certain controls so as to be representative of society as a whole.
certain controls in place so as to be representative of society as a whole.
i was just thinking of this, this morning. Maybe it's not weird, maybe someone has mentioned it before.
i choose myself
evil enough, power hungry arsehole you will make it to Parliament on merit
Do you not remember Mags?
Are you questioning the competence of women?
i think quotas would be good as a symbol, but i dont think it would necessarily lead to better government
That would lead to a better society
That would in turn lead to a better government
I mean really similar. They switch when necessary.
However I think women are more alienated from politics than men - vicious circle of women not voting or getting involved because of maleness of parties/policies, so parties/policies remain male etc. Not sure how this is best solved but it wont be through pink buses/quotas. There's also the fact that the way in which Westminster operates is impractical for mothers - Louise Mensch is utterly heinous, but she made this point when she left parliament and I think it's something that will always hinder gender equality in UK parliament.
these are all structural problems within society - that won't be solved (I think) with fair and equal representation
so what you're saying is a bit of a circular argument isn't it?
I mean, it's not as if we need to find 30 million women MPs ... just a few hundred. Surely not a problem at all
I meant 'that won't be solved WITHOUT' fair and equal representation
but the statement must always be caveated by mentioning her reasons for leaving parliament were to do with her wanting to be with her husband in New York, not explicitly her struggles with being an MP and a mother.
ie how many MPs are fighting for re-election / how many *new* MPs are usually elected in a general election etc
I have a feeling that to get anything close to a 50:50 male:female split in the Commons (let alone the Lords) then pretty much every candidate would have to be a woman. And there might not be enough willing to stand idk.
But it ought to be
I literally won't consider my life goals achieved until 50.2% of MPs are female, 49.4% are male, and 0.4% consider themselves to be neither or both of the above.
always entertained when people defend them on grounds of it leading to the best candidate not being picked in favour of, say, their gender, whilst supporting hundreds of years of doing exactly that...
The notion that there is always just ONE person who is the BEST person for a given role. Hilarious notion, mainly because it either means you always had shoddy also-rans until now, or else everyone to come after this BEST person will be a lame duck anyway.
The same holds true for those utter fucks who moan when the BBC has an expert in a field who is non-white or non-male under the perverse assumption that there is probably a white man who is the THE EXPERT in the field but who was passed over for reasons of PC.
Cos 'what society looks like' has a crucial impact on what we think individuals or groups are or are not suited to within society
Like I say, I don't think you've really offered me a method or reason around my fundamental democratic issues with the notion. I think gender imbalance is important but hard to justify in this specific instance
because I already said in other posts that I am fully behind quotas in general, just that they are completely impractical in a proper democratic system to vote in MPs, because the vote should be a personal one and standing for election should be a personal one.
I am fully behind spending public money to both encourage women to stand and get into politics as well as providing any necessary help they might need to do that which, given the patriarchal society, will no doubt involve providing childcare and help in general for mothers in parliament.
and as for childcare - there's an inherent bias in this thread (and society at large) in interpreting childcare as an obstacle that women must overcome in order to fully pursue careers etc
but imagine if both parents were given the same length of extended paid parental leave so that the 'problem' of childcare was shared equally - a whole row of other related issues (pay gap, employment prospects etc) would, by necessity, have to be addressed and balanced for the common good
what mechanism is there at grass-roots level for this to happen? There isn't one. Plus it's never likely that a male dominated legislature would ever bring to statute such a proposal without first being enlightened enough to have a gender balanced Parliament & Cabinet (and probably similar balances in all public offices & institutions with tax incentives for private companies to have gender balanced boards etc.).
There's no guarantee of course that a 50:50 Parliament would vote for 50:50 maternity/paternity split (or as near as to make an effective balance) but it's clearly WAY MORE likely to do so
I think what you're saying is that ideally a balance ought to be reached organically and voluntarily and sure, that would be great but at the current rate it would take another 60 years for the gender pay gap to close - that's a century between law being enacted and being effective (http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/24/lauren-laverne-equal-pay-women)
So, y'know - let's push things forward
you'll see I mention the need for childcare because of the patriarchal society. It's true that there should be broad help across the board but if you're trying to change things you have to start somewhere, which is what you're saying too, for that matter.
As it stands, there is a bigger chance that women will need help around childcare because they will have the job that pays less and so have been the one that took a cut in hours or stayed home entirely.
Once they're on an MPs salary that should change but that would require they get elected and we're talking about pre-election.
Anyway, you still haven't provided a sufficient solution to the issue around how elections work. All I'm saying is you need to make sure more women take up their right to stand.
by making half of the seats women's seats
"As it stands, there is a bigger chance that women will need help around childcare because they will have the job that pays less and so have been the one that took a cut in hours or stayed home entirely.
Once they're on an MPs salary that should change but that would require they get elected and we're talking about pre-election. "
you're talking about the elected individual women MPs whereas I'm talking about the whole of society (including the elected individual MPs)
also, again, you have the circular argument of 'we can't make this change to correct the biases of Patriarchy because Patriarchy makes it difficult to make this change'
which states that once we have that 50/50 split in the MPs, the patriarchy will be dismantled. It's only a stop-gap.
what I've said is that the Patriarchy is never going to be dismantled while power is so disproportionately in the hands of men and so normalised as being so
de-normalising it is a pre-requisite to equality
having to put up with parachuted candidates who have been rubber stamped from Head Office.
Remember when Blaenau Gwent elected an Independent in protest of having a candidate imposed on them (all though that was probably quite a lot to do with sexism as well).
but that's because FPTP can fuck the fuck off
Or indeed that a sexist Government would normalise a sexist society
when you're in a privileged position of help.
Referring specifically to her character.
with a route to an institution they already have full rights to be part of.
Obviously the issue here (and with the original argument in the episode) is that assumption that because women are considered equal under law, there is no other obstacle for them, particularly it fails to take into consideration how different it is depending on the privilege of your background. The last is clearly universal, or else we'd have more MPs who weren't public school educated...
why should men have a disproportionate control of power ? And how can other disproportionate areas of the system be corrected WHILE men have such a disproportion control of power and moreover while that dominance is so normalised?
I think all democratic bodies should have gender balance. For various reasons including legitimacy and good governance as well as the opportunities it may present for gender equality.
In some contexts its a good idea, in some its not. In the UK I'm not sure I would actively support mandetory quota for parliament. I think its better for political parties to promote gender equality themselves. Obviously labour are the only ones who have and the tories and the lib Dems are pretty crap. Even if the tories hold all their seats they'll still have only 20% women. Still I don't think I could really give a shit whether a tory mp is a man or a woman. They're still working in the interests of rich men. At the same time I wouldn't oppose it cause I don't think it would make a massive difference.
Pointless argument given our electoral system.
Mechanisms for deepening democracy and mainstreaming gender equality.
For high level appointments there's probably a stronger argument for quotas.
Actually I would fully support it cause it would antagonise so many people
if the Meninists and *boke* Suffragents *boke* are so affeared of the manhating feminazis emasculating them you'd have thought they'd be firmly behind quotas so as to protect them from complete overthrow
really is a massive obstacle to progress
Since we recently voted to retain it (or at least not change it), warts and all. Until we have a new electoral system or the Electoral Commission mandate constituencies as all male/all female ballots it's a non starter over here.
it's cumbersome but it is a workaround so even within the current system there are ways if there is a will
But that means we either have 1300 MPs, or redraw the boundaries to be double the size, and we can't even manage the latter successfully any more!
You could have one always available in constituency & one always available in Westminster
Creates jobs too
Plus the increase in wage bill would likely be offset by the reduction in expenses on London rents & mortgages for 2nd homes
Or are you saying any vote needs all the MPs to meet? The one in Westminster has more 'power' otherwise. It's not a workable system as it stands.
Yes, each party puts forward a male candidate & a female candidate so if that party wins in that constituency the job of representing that constituency is undertaken by those two MPs of the same party
At any given time one will be in Westminster & one will be in their constituency
At any given time the representation in Westminster (and also in the constituencies) will be gender balanced. There's no reason why either candidate should be permanently in either location but at all times there will be one MP available in the constituency + one available in Westminster and they will both obviously support each other & work together
And what happens with votes in (a brand new much bigger) parliament? I mean do they get one vote on anything and they have to agree between them? Two different people representing you means you speak to the one when they're home but meanwhile the other one is in Westminster doing all the bits they need to do round there. Isn't that going to lead to a disconnect? What if they have a fundamental disagreement at some point in their term?
What if any two people working together disagree?
Or any two people representing the same party
This stuff happens all the time
As for votes it could be done either way
I'm not advocating for any specific method to implement gender parity in Govt. I'm just suggesting examples of ways in which it could be done as it definitely could be done
But arguing about the details here and elsewhere in the thread is leading us down a cul-de-sac away from the basic principle
From what I can tell we both seem to be in agreement that
1) a gender balanced Parliament and Govt would be a desirable thing
2) we ought to try and make that happen
What we seem to disagree on is that (I believe)
3) it is the responsibility of the system to correct its own structural biases and not merely the responsibility of individuals or groups to change their behaviour
4) you seem to rule out a top-down aspect in favour of incentivising individuals in a bottom-up approach
5) believe that a top-down approach would be the quickest way to incentivise as it would negate some of the structural biases & provide immediate equal opportunity with the legislature thus supporting a parallel bottom-up approach which is lended a drive & legitimacy with an emboldened political will
We both agree that a 50:50 parliament would be good
We just disagree on how to get there
Is that fair?
(This is also the subtle difference in the two OP questions that Brusma conflated)
but how to get there is really the important thing. Otherwise, wouldn't it be great if we had universal equality!
Right, let's got to lunch.
without any complaint but somehow when it comes to enforce quotas people seem to react like THAT'S AGAINST THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS
which is a pretty catastrophic misunderstanding of how society works
I have explicitly said (twice I think) in this thread that I support quotas in general, but in the specific case of a role that should theoretically be elected from the group of absolutely anyone that wishes to be in that group, I think it's problematic/impossible to achieve.
"Since 1918 there have only been 370 women MPs. Currently 502 men have seats in the House of Commons, so there are more men at Westminster right now than there have ever been women. "
We can force parliament to be 50:50 men and women but only if we stop having democracy in the way we would like or if we fundamentally change our government. If you want to do that, that's fine but then you change the process so quotas aren't really what you're doing.
Either you remove the democratic right to stand for one sex in every constituency so that only a man or a woman can be returned. Or you have two MPs for each constituency, a man and a woman, which means you have to reinvent how government works.
Take your suggestion up above, where not only is there a man and a woman, but these are paired by political allegiance, so you would vote on a party/policy and get two people who'd agreed to work towards that. What if you only like one of them? What if one dies or is taken ill or whatever? You have to find two more people or one replacement?
Logically the only way to do what you're saying is to elect the man and woman separately, but then you might end up with one leftist and one rightist, which could be very tricky for your constitution. I'm not saying these things could never work, but I'm not sure you would get an improved government out of it.
"Either you remove the democratic right to stand for one sex in every constituency so that only a man or a woman can be returned." - no, you don't do that
"Or you have two MPs for each constituency, a man and a woman, which means you have to reinvent how government works." - you could do that
and do it without having to reinvent how government works - that's like saying you can't ban cfcs without reinventing how the free-market capitalism works
the rest of what you've written pretty much applies now - if you don't like a candidate you're free to not vote for them, if one dies then you call a by-election
these really aren't insurmountable problems
the only insurmountable problem would be that if you absolutely refused to be represented by a female (or male) you would not have that choice and in any election the likelihood of you getting the candidate you want to represent you is entirely dependent on external factors anyway ie how many people vote the same way as you
but they're also fucking HUGE changes. In principle it sounds interesting. But I don't have a good enough background in the UK political system to say much more than that. I don't know, for example, what might have to change to allow for two MPs for each constituency, one male and one female.
Can you confirm which of the two 'twin members' options above is the one you think would work? Do you think it happens under the current party system?
if, like Theo, you agree that a 50:50 Parliament is desirable
and irrespective of whether you agree with whether we should just wait for it to happen or whether we should try and legislate for it
you might want to go here
"Since 1918 there have only been 370 women MPs. Currently 502 men have seats in the House of Commons, so there are more men at Westminster right now than there have ever been women. "
Lauren Laverne on the pay gap
and a couple of articles about just how deeply ingrained our implicit gender bias is
if anyone has any other links about gender bias and visibility - particularly to do with preconceptions about what constitutes suitability or competence and how this is informed by gender bias and visibility - then please add them here
I have no problems with all-female shortlists as Labour have done for candidates. I think it's fine for parties to state they will only put forward female candidates. That's not the same thing as saying 'only women can stand in this constituency' in order to get 50:50.
If the main parties do more all-female shortlists it will definitely help to move things along.
It might be interesting to put limits on the number of reelections an MP can stand for, of course. Tricky but maybe ultimately it's fairer if we require 'new blood' to come more quickly.
no one is saying that
without making sure that constituencies are male or female only in terms of candidates.
I can't come up with the plan on my own
and in any case, if we live in a political system that has insurmountable blocks against a gender balanced parliament isn't that reason enough to think the system needs a thorough overhaul?
There is nothing in that petition requesting quotas. You are the one who used that term and I made it pretty clear I had issues with quotas as the method to use (as did others).
Now you're just saying to sign the petition but you don't want to come up with a plan, despite suggesting some plans already, and I'm asking you what the specifics of those would be.
Yes, in principle I think most (all?) in this thread thing parliament should be as close to 50:50 as possible, although that petition is only asking for a 'better' gender balance in any case.
>There is nothing in that petition requesting quotas.
Yeah, I know. It's a petition for a debate on how to achieve gender parity in Parliament
I think you could go straight ahead to quotas, I mean, if we're all in agreement with the fact that a gender balanced parliament is desirable then why not just legislate for it? Like you said, others have issues with quotas but I'm trying to investigate why and in many ways trying to advocate for a direct structural change
whether you agree with my method or not if you agree with the goal then that's a reason to sign the petition and open up a debate that might result in a better plan than the one I've put forward
But I really do believe that if you're going to have any kind of society in which both boys and girls can grow into their full potential and not be limited or confined by gender bias then you need to have parity in all institutions that have power (govt, local legislature, boardrooms) and visibility (media, sport) otherwise we're conditioned (as now) to believe the voice of authority is a male one and that any alternative is somehow sub-par
of course this doesn't stop at gender, there are clearly issues here regarding 'class'/economic background, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, etc. and the fundamental understanding that a diverse society needs diversity in representation to avoid the strangulation of ruling groups just running endless loops of self-interest - and in fact that if a ruling 'type' is continually selected and reinforced from the same group then a society is massively underperforming in terms of using the experience and resources available in order to address all problems outside of those of the group's self-interest... which is what we have now
but I chose to define a perimeter around the extremely UNradical idea of a gender balanced society deserving to be served by a gender balanced legislature and advocating the shortcut of legislating for it (quotas) just as a jump-off point for the whole idea