The new virtual parliament, which started this week, could have unintended positive consequences for achieving gender equality in politics. Parliament was created by men, for men. The procedures, the structure, the culture – all created without a thought that one day, women would be making legislation too. Now, as parliament is redesigned, reshaped and dragged into the 21st century through the use of technology, many of the practices which may have put women off from entering a life in politics will be highlighted for what they are – unnecessary procedures protected by the status of “tradition”. With coronavirus acting as a catalyst for modernisation, we will see that parliament can, and must, be conducted in a better way.
Young women are one of the least likely groups to vote, partly because it can be hard to engage in a system that doesn’t reflect you. This is why we should fight for a parliament where women feel like they can belong, and change is happening.
Trough the wonder that is Zoom, which I am sure the global population is now well acquainted with, we now have a parliament that can be conducted remotely. For those with caring responsibilities, which disproportionately affect women, this change will have tangible benefits. MPs can debate from home, muting themselves if they need to entertain children who normally would be at school – creating legislation and feeding the kids all from the comfort of the dining table.
Click here to read the full article published by Independent on 22 April 2020.