Green Party Women

Leader endorses Green Women Group's first campaign

16 December 2008

South East MEP and Green Party Leader Dr Caroline Lucas has welcomed the decision by the new Green Party Women group to sign up to the Women and the Vote campaign as its first formal move.

Dr Lucas, the only female leader of a major British political party, said: "This year, 90 years after women first got the vote in Britain, and 80 years after full suffrage was achieved, it is disgraceful that still fewer than 20% of MPs are female. We should be aiming over the next decade to finally redress that balance.

"As an excellent Hansard Society report has shown, having women in parliament is not just an issue of numerical equality, important as that is; women MPs address issues of particular concern to their gender, addressing employment, health, domestic violence and representation questions, among other. Women are more than half of the population, but without boosting the number of female MPs the concerns of half the population will not be properly addressed."

Dr Lucas added: "It is interesting that in the three Assemblies within Britain elected through forms of proportional representation - the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the London Assembly, the percentage of women is much higher - approaching parity in the case of Wales.

"The Green Party supports proportional representations for its innate fairness and capacity to re-engage disillusioned voters, but its clear ability to deliver more gender-balanced parliaments is another plus."

She continued: "Political parties have a responsibility to promote and encourage women to rise through the ranks, which must work particularly at the local government level, at which many politicians start, as I did myself.

"I'm proud that a survey this year of local government candidates in the East Midlands, North East, North West, West Midlands and Yorkshire & the Humber showed that the Green Party was leading the way in having 42% female candidates, a clear nine percentage points ahead of Labour and the Liberal Democrats."

Dr Lucas welcomed the formation of Green Party Women, which will work in concert with an informal group, Women By Name, which has long acted within the party to support and encourage women members to take up prominent roles.

She said: "The Green Party has always had its heart and policies in the right place on women's issues, but it hasn't always done enough to tell the rest of the world about them. By building links with women's groups, and promoting our policies, Green Party Women will help ensure voters know about our views on such important issues as equal and fair pay, work-life balance, the valuing of unpaid contributions to family and society, and healthcare."

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