A record number of women presented themselves for office ahead of the UK’s 2019 election. A total of 37% of candidates were female – an improvement of eight percentage points over the number of women standing in 2017 (29%) and 11 percentage points compared to 2015 (26%). This despite how challenging it can be to organise a campaign for a snap election.
It’s also perhaps surprising given the revelations made by women MPs over the past year about the abuse they receive from the public. When the general election was called, around 20 women from different parties announced they had decided to stand down. Among them were Conservatives Amber Rudd, Nicky Morgan, Caroline Spelman, Seema Kennedy and their former Conservative colleague Heidi Allen, as well as Labour MPs Louise Ellmann and Gloria De Piero. Many of these women cited daily abuse, harassment and intimidation as a reason for leaving parliament. This suggests that the aggressiveness of the political environment is undermining efforts to improve representation in the UK.
Click here to read the full article published by The Conversation on 6 November 2019.