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EP survey shows more women MEPs needed

Having written in the past about the dire shortage of women in image British politics, I was fascinated to read the results of a European-based survey on this topic – and discover unsurprisingly that similar attitudes are shared on the continent.

The survey of 35,000 women and 5,000 men in 27 countries revealed that politics is very much a male dominated world.

The European Parliament highlighted the issue to mark International Women’s Day on Sunday. Is worth noting that there are more female MEPs than MPs – 31.08 percent in the EP compared to 24.3 Vicky Fordpercent in the House of Commons. I know the very vibrant Vicky Ford is looking forward to increasing the female ratio in Brussels when she is elected in June for Conservatives.

The results of the latest Eurobarometer poll were presented at a seminar in the European Parliament yesterday.  MEP Mary Honeyball was there and and says the study showed that an astonishing 70 percent of women want 40 percent of MEPs to be female. So where are the female candidates?

Interestingly, the poll found that women are more concerned than men about the economic situation, risks of globalisation and its likely impact of the euro. Women also want the EP to push for time spent looking after children at home to be counted towards pension entitlements.

The European Commission’s most senior women, Vice-President Margot Wallström, a keen blogger, rightly pointed out that, “a democracy which does not make enough room for 52% of the population at the decision-making table is no real democracy at all.” I would love to meet Margot during my visit to Brussels later this month.

The poll found that a clear majority of men (77 %) agree that men dominate the political scene and that more women in politics could lead to a different style. In fact an overwhelming 83% of women and 76% of men agree that women can bring a different perspective to politics.

Most respondents want to see more women in politics, with up to half of the interviewees wishing to see at least 50% of MEPs being women, but only a minority, 10%, considering the use of mandatory quotas to be effective. Forty six percent felt their interests as women were not well represented in the EU.

In terms of how they decide to vote, two thirds of women gave importance to candidates´ experience on European issues rather than political orientation.

I would like to ask women readers what legislation they would like to see the EP introduce and whether they are concerned about lack of female representation in Brussels.

These results make you question how different our world would be if women dominated governments instead of men…


10 Comments

  1. Ellee we dont need any more women as either candidates or indeed as MEPs what is required is a complete disbanding of the whole corrupt and sorry exercise of a gravy train that is called the European Parliament.
    Full of second rate politicians who couldnt or didnt ( or in the case of the latest women from France when your Leader gets sick of your presence! ) make it in proper corridors of power .
    A plague on it all .
    Come the election in May vote for the person who genuinly wants out not wants to be in at the trough .
    That rules out the Tories.

  2. I’m concerned about lack of female representation everywhere but I do think that people should only be selected on merit. I don’t know if this would be in the remit of the EP but I think 0 VAT on sanitary towels, of every sort, should apply across the EU.

  3. Anne…. I do so agree with what you say.. 🙂

  4. I don’t think we will ever draw more women into the current political system – it just doesn’t work for us. I would NEVER want to be a politician – it doesn’t suit the way my mind works or the way I need to organise my time and life. Some women manage a complete political career, others manage it for a short time, most could not.

    It is hard to put a finger on WHY it does not appeal – but whenever I raise the question with women I meet they, like me, have no interest whatsoever. And I mix with people who are active in decision-making ventures at a lower level.

  5. Ironically Unless we positively discrimate

    1 – Not a Woman
    2 – Not a Gay
    3 – Not an alien
    4 – Not under fifty

    you are making me redundant

  6. So what would a woman dominated politics or government be about?

    Positive discrimination always seems to work against me:
    1 – I’m NOT a woman
    2 – I’m NOT a gay
    3 – I’m NOT an immigrant
    4 – I’m NOT under fifty

    When I was younger, I had to pay due deference to my elders. Now I’ve paid my dues, and become an elder – I’m to make room for those younger. Seems positive discrimination is proof that politics like everything else is anything but a true reflection or a democratic choice.

    But then again the only choice a supermarket ever gices customers, is the choice to select, purchase or buy whatever ‘they’ put on the shelves

  7. That didn’t seem like an outburst to me until you mentioned it, Anne.

    I suppose you would need to have your second comment deleted too and now that I’ve mentioned it this one as well !

    But really. The EU is like a bad party magician. It forces the answer it wants from the audience volunteer. Forget that our PM has reneged on his promise to give us referendum, forget that the only thing our people have ever been asked is if they wanted to be part of a common trading area – it’s full steam ahead “Right. Let’s ask women how they would like their representatives made up.” rather than giving them the right to answer whether or not they want the EP to exist at all (I certainly don’t)thus giving the illusion that the EU is democratic.

    Since when did opinion count ? If it did then life would mean life for murder. So I conclude that opinion is only ever sought or acknowledged when a favourable answer is guaranteed by the questioner.

  8. Hi Ellee…I do apologize for my out burst on here…just read it, this morning …Oh my word …I will get slated by the feminists!!! and you !! I think it might be best if my comment is deleted..Thanks.

  9. “What legislation would you like to see the EP introduce ?”

    Isn’t it insidious how the EU is becoming our prime legislature ?

    The elephant in the room is that if I hadn’t mentioned it who here would have questioned the devolvement of our democracy ?

  10. what are you all trying to prove..I wouldn’t trust a female anymore more than a male…I don’t really care if they are female or male, providing they do the job..sort it all..

    There are so many females in this world that think they have been hard done by..especially in the business world..I would prefer to work for a male anytime!

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