Written by Luna Webster
Happy belated International Woman’s Day everyone! Any day dedicated to the influential and inspirational women in the world is fantastic as far as I’m concerned – side eye to anyone who complained that there isn’t an International Men’s Day. You see that unidentified flying object soaring above your head? That’s the point. Oh, and it’s on November 19th, FYI.
In the run up to the general election it’s especially important to think about women in places of power. Obviously, we are under-represented. Out of the media’s favourite party leaders only Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon are women – and they seem very intent on erasing Sturgeon altogether by referring only to Alex Salmond when the SNP get brought up. Whatever doubt there is in terms of who our next Prime Minister is going to be, I think we can start using male pronouns for them now. But let’s look at the role of women among less elite positions of power, shall we? Perhaps things are more hopeful at constituency level.
I’m afraid there isn’t really much better news here. New figures this week show that in Scotland fewer then 3 in 10 parliamentary candidates are women. For a nation with a female First Minister this is pretty disappointing stuff. 36% of the SNP’s candidates are female (which isn’t the worst but could definitely be better) as opposed to 27% of the Lib Dem’s, 26% of Labour’s and a meagre 15% for the Conservatives.
So what does this mean for us women? Well, it means we aren’t being represented in our parliament in the way we should be. In the UK us women make up 50.8% of the population so why aren’t we trusted to go into places of power and assist in the decision-making process that directly affects us? It makes women less engaged in politics because they can’t relate to the people involved in it. So then there are less women likely to vote or stand for parliament. So then there are less women in parliament. And it repeats infinitely, a vicious cycle that enforces patriarchal values. There’s only ever one winner when men hold the majority of positions of power.
What’s even scarier is the fact that less women are voting now too. The only way to ensure women have a voice in politics is for us to participate when general election time arrives. I urge women everywhere to consider their history and remember those that died and suffered endlessly in order for you to be able to cast your vote. Apathy won’t get us anywhere – we must push forwards, break down the barriers and smash that glass ceiling once and for all.