Sunday, 26 July 2015

Women's Equality Party to field candidates in assembly elections

Part of me that wishes to see an end to discrimination against Women welcomes the news that the new leader of the UK's first feminist political party has said she expects to be fielding candidates in next year's Welsh assembly elections.

After all as the Plaid AM Bethan Jenkin wrote in  wrote in 2013 there has been frustration  even from among those  in Parties that have some "Gender Equality polices" in place"

Since the National Assembly for Wales was created in 1999, it’s fair to say that as many more women have been elected at a National level, mostly due to positive action measures within some Welsh parties, this has often given the false impression that gender equality within Welsh politics is no longer an issue. I recall going on radio shows of various European countries to talk about the rise in profile of Welsh women in public life as a result of at one stage there being almost 50% representation of women at the National Assembly for Wales. This clearly impressed other countries aspiring to encourage more women in to politics. But have we really been the success story that we have built ourselves up to be in this regard? Well, Labour and Plaid Cymru have since watered down their positive action policies, impacting directly on the number of women now elected to our National Institution, and there are many issues still rumbling under the surface.

Sophie Walker took up her post with the Women's Equality Party this week.

The party was set up by broadcaster Sandi Toksvig and journalist Catherine Mayer four months ago and is said to be Britain's fastest-growing party.

Ms Walker told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement the party would be taking a non-partisan approach to elections.
"We've picked the perfect time to launch a political party because of the number of proportional representation elections coming up in the spring," she said.
"We are going to field candidates and we think we stand a good chance and we think that will form a very good basis going forward to 2020 and, given the state of various political parties right now, who knows what the political field is going to look like in 2020."

She added: 

"We will work with other political parties where they want to work with us and, where we see that other political parties are adopting our goals and taking on our agenda, then we would consider joint candidacies with them.

Ms Walker said the party was at the "very early stages of deciding how to go forward".
"We will be undertaking consultations with our members  and deciding which seats to target," she added.
I note that Ms Walker has not indicated whether the new party will fight individual constituencies or just the list seats or both.

I can fully understand  the frustration that Women must feel after all it is over nearly 100 years since Constance Markievicz was elected to Westminster for Sinn Féin in 1918 and Nancy Astor taking her seat in 1919 and we are still well short of having like a equal amount of MPs from each sex.

I fear that at the moment the only way we will have any real Gender Equality among our Legislators would be if we elected one male and one female for each constituency.

I am not going to dismiss their chances In the Northern Ireland Assembly election, 1998,  the W omens Coalition won two seats  though they were never t repeat it.

So maybe the Equality Party will shake things up a bit and that might  be worth seeing.


  1. In a massive legislature you can afford to countenance the presence of a few dopey birds, but in an assembly of 60 they take up valuable space. In addition, their continuous squeaking serves only to distract.

  2. I think a couple of Women reminding us that we are still not an equal society will be infinitely preferable to a group of Ukip morons and lets face it most of our current AMs are hardly top notch.