The 2010 UK general election presented a rare opportunity to significantly enhance women’s representation in the UK due to the larger numbers of vacant-held seats following the parliamentary expenses scandal of 2009. However, despite encouraging words and commitments from the main political parties, the opportunity was missed.
The proportion of women’s representation in the UK parliament remains at around 22 per cent, comparing unfavourably with countries as diverse as Rwanda and Sweden, and leaving the UK ranking 52nd in the global league table. Although there is no one single answer for achieving sex parity in politics, many factors can increase women’s opportunities. At the 2010 general election, only the Labour party adopted the strategy of ‘equality guarantees’; the other two parties preferred ‘equality rhetoric’ and‘equality promotion’; the outcome of the general election demonstrated, once again, the efficacy of the Labour party’s equality guarantees.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 41.5 (2010) A Missed Opportunity: Women and the 2010 UK General Election