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Millions of people won’t be able to elect a female MP this election

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We may have a female Prime Minister, but the UK has a long way to go when it comes to gender diversity in politics.

Just 29% of the MPs in the House of Commons are women, with only 8 out of 23 female ministers in top cabinet positions. This means that we’re currently all losing out in a system where women are struggling to make their voices heard.  

And, when it comes down to something as simple as not being able to select a female candidate on our ballot paper, we’re left stumped as to how the fightback can begin.

Shadow Health Secretary Dianne Abbott

Shadow Health Secretary Dianne Abbott

In a nationwide investigation, the BBC revealed that the problem is growing steadily worse: over 100 constituencies in the UK do not have a female candidate on the ballot cards. 

This means that 15% of political areas in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are without a female representative in this year’s general election.

Read more: Are you a Labour lover or captivated by Conservatives? How we vote is influencing how we date more than ever before

As a consequence, a whopping 7.5 million people have been denied the option of selecting a female MP as their candidate.

In the likes of Colchester, Bosworth, Stoke-On-Trent South and Newcastle-Under-Lyme, residents have been without a female candidate since the political boundary changes that took place in 2010.

Scarborough and Whitby both have the longest slate of male-only hopefuls, with not a single female candidate among their eight representatives.

Green Party's Caroline Lucas and SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Green Party's Caroline Lucas and SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Northern Ireland is the only country in the United Kingdom with a female candidate in every constituency. As such, it has the highest representation of women in its ranks, with 34 aspiring female MPs out of 18 constituencies.

The unique difficulties facing women entering a career in politics have left a third of MPs considering whether or not they should quit their role.

Read more: “Equality and feminism matter to all of us”: two female MPs denounce the vilification of women in politics

In the anonymous BBC survey, the politicians said that they have wanted to leave their role due to receiving a spate of online and verbal abuse.

The survey also revealed that the women wanted to see the “unprofessional or sexist language” used in Westminster challenged.

 Almost two-thirds of the female MPs who answered the survey said they had received sexist comments from fellow workers or MPs.

Images: Rex Features


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