UK’s chaotic general election was a historic moment for women
The aftermath of the UK’s general election, which resulted in a hung parliament and huge losses for the Conservative party, is proving chaotic and unsettling. But, the general election has proved historic for female representation in government.
More women than ever before have been elected to the House of Commons in the 2017 general election, outnumbering all intakes of female MPs from previous elections.
At least 207 women were elected in Thursday’s general election, beating the previous record of 196 female MPs who were elected in the 2015 general election and subsequent by-elections. The record for the number of women elected in a single general election was 191 in 2015.
Amid the furore surrounding the hung parliament on social media, people took to Twitter to celebrate the historic moment for women in politics:
And in good news: for the first time in British history, over 200 women have been elected into Parliament 👏👏👏
— Dmitry Shishkin (@dmitryshishkin) June 9, 2017
Sam Smethers, chief executive of the women’s rights charity the Fawcett Society, says the result are cause for celebration, but more work has yet to be done if we are to achieve true gender equality in politics.
“The number of women MPs in parliament has broken the 200 barrier for the first time with 207 women elected so far with one result remaining,” wrote Smethers.
“But while this is progress, the fact remains that just 32 percent of our MP’s are women, up from 30 percent before the election. We are moving forward at a snail’s pace and this is embarrassingly slow,” she added.
Smethers called for a “radical new approach” and a need for legislation requiring parties to select at least 45 percent female candidates.
Increased Diversity in Parliament
The UK’s first female Sikh MP, Preet Gill, was elected after securing a majority of 6,917 votes to hold the Birmingham Edgbaston seat for Labour. The vote also saw the UK elect the country’s first turban wearing Sikh MP, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi taking the Labour set for Slough.
Labour also gained two disabled MPs, both of whom are disability rights activists. Marsha de Cordova, who is registered blind, secured the Labour seat in Battersea, London. And, Hared O’Mara, who has Cerebral Palsy Hemiparesis, won Sheffield Hallam from former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.
Labour has GAINED two disabled MPs so far tonight. Both disability rights activists too. This needs to be recognised and celebrated!
— Alice Kirby (@Alice__Kirby) June 9, 2017