The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Women in Parliamenthas published its report “Improving Parliament: Creating a Better and More Representative House” which sets out a new framework for modernising Parliament.
The APPG held an Inquiry to investigate what can be done to create a more aspirational, modern and representative Parliament. The report focuses on how to increase the number of women in the House – at 22.6% in the Commons, and ranking in at 65th out of the 189 countries.
Commenting on the report, Chair of the APPG Mary Macleod MP said:
“I hope the findings and recommendations of this report open up the idea of becoming an MP to more people, especially women. The business world has made progress toward a more diverse workforce and understands it makes good business sense. The same priority should be given for female representation in Parliament. Britain simply cannot afford not to make the most of its female talent.”
The report outlines changes to the working environment of the House to help increase the recruitment and retention of politicians, both men and women. Key recommendations include:
- Professionalising the structure of the House by improving the predictability of Parliamentary business and rebalancing the Parliamentary calendar.
- Improving the culture of the House by creating a zero tolerance response to unprofessional behaviour in the Chamber
- Improving the support available to Members by clarifying and better communicating expenses for Members and extending HR training and development
- Improving the online gateway to Parliament to encourage more women and other under-represented groups to consider and role in public life
- Establishing a Women and Equalities Select Committee to regularly raise issues that are a priorty for women and reivew how women are impacted by Government policy
- Asking the DCMS Select Committee and Independent Press Standards Organisation to review sexism in traditional and social media including analysis of how female parliamentarians are represented.
“Parliament can and does change over time, for example with changes to sitting hours and the opening of an on-site nursery. However, we still have a long way to go. Our recommendations focus on what we can do right now that will really make a difference to increase the number of women on our green benches. The APPG wants to build on the great history and traditions of Parliament, continue the passion and conviction in debate, but change aspects that act as unnecessary barriers to women in politics.”
The Prime Minister, Rt Hon. David Cameron MP, commented:
“Parliament needs to be more representative of our country – so we need more women in Parliament. This is something all parties must address and I am grateful for thr work that the APPG has done on this important issue”.