16 October 2007

Women And Party Leadership

All the media chatter is about two candidates, perhaps three, to succeed Menzies Campbell. All three are male (Nick Clegg, Chris Huhne, and Steve Webb).

You look at the "front bench" leadership of the Lib Dems, and it's overwhelming male (4 out of 25).

Same with the "front bench" of the Tories (5 women out of 28), and the full cabinet of Labour (5 women out of 23).

20% of our country isn't women, so why is only 20% of political leadership made up of women?

By design, the Green Party has two principal speakers, one male, one female, to represent us in the media. Their mandate is renewed each year at our autumn conference.

The female principal speaker race this year was between two heavyweights: Caroline Lucas (MEP for the South-East, PPC for Brighton Pavillion) and Jenny Jones (Green member of the London Assembly, former Deputy Mayor). For 2007/2008, Lucas was elected with 77% of the vote.

Not by design, but it worked out that way, half of the Green Party's council candidates in Coventry were women in 2007 (in Binley and Willenhall, Foleshill, Longford and Wainbody wards).

I don't get a vote in the Lib Dem leadership race, but I hope that Susan Kramer (former president of the Oxford Union, former candidate for mayor of London) and Lynne Featherstone (short-listed in the "Rising Stars" category for the 2006 Channel Four Political Awards) take a shot at the title.

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