When looking back at British history and the achievements of feminism and gender equality, some may say a focus on gender equality requires reduced attention in our modern nation. When observing British culture closely however, it is clear that there is definite room for growth, particularly in the workplace.
In a statement last week, former equalities minister and conservative MP for Basingstoke, Maria Miller raised important issues about gender equality in parliament. She highlighted the fact that the ratio of female MPs in parliament is far from equal to males. The raising of this issue and its coverage by the media brings the topic into the limelight, and allows citizens and those in power to consider forms of action to alter this.
It can be observed that the UK Prime Minister David Cameron is aware of this situation and is active in creating potentially revolutionary changes. In a parliamentary reshuffle this week he will be assigning more females to ministerial roles. This marks a sufficient step in the right direction and can create a productive influence for women entering a career in politics.
Another productive opportunity for David Cameron comes this week as he completes the nominations for roles in the European Commission. As the issue of gender equality in parliament has been brought into the limelight via the media and parliamentary debate, its aims may be that recognition and an adequate amount of pressure has been placed upon those in power to either assign females to these roles or allow them to enter positions left vacant by the movements.
With historic strides in gender equality it is clear that men and women have more equality in education than ever before. However, Miller is challenged by the fact that rather than undertaking programmes in politics, women are favoring areas such as law and accountancy. She calls for parliament to encourage careers in politics. If future generations are able to see that a career in politics has the opportunity to thrive, they may be more inclined to choose this path. This notion also calls for younger females to be assigned to governmental roles.
Female politicians are far from the only people campaigning for change, the liberal democrat justice minister Simon Hughes has acknowledged the fact that his party is challenged by an unequal gender ratio. In pointing this out, he strengthens the recognition for change. Hughes is confident that those in power are productive in making the necessary changes, when commenting on the Liberal Democrat and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s actions on the issue, he said, ‘he’s absolutely mindful of making sure that we have more women in government’.
Whilst it must be a challenge to bring balance into the ratio of genders in parliament whilst maintaining fairness throughout, it is clear that those in powerful positions are joining together on this challenge and regularly suggesting ideas for change. Miller calls for the government to take a closer look at ‘the culture and practices’ parliament has in order to address the changes that will work to ensure optimum performance from Westminster.
If these alterations can be achieved successfully it will be a constructive step for gender equality in general. Governmental choices and actions affect each person living in the UK; they are a reference point for everyone. Changes such as these can set the benchmark for equality in the workplace throughout the nation. Additionally, with more female MP’s and parliament members, surely a more gender-balanced form of governing can develop so that our government can effectively cater for the lives of women in the same, thoroughly informed way it does for men.
How gender equal is your workplace?