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Election 2010: Women in government

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Margot James became the second openly gay woman in parliament. © Margot James - Election 2010: Women in government
Margot James became the second openly gay woman in parliament. © Margot James
With no party acquiring the requisite number of seats to form a majority government, we have the coalition since World War II.

While Britain may be divided over who they want in power, they were less reticent when it came to voting for diversity and equality.

22 percent of all MPs are now women – almost four times the number in parliament in 1987. And while this is far from representative of the country as a whole (where women actually outnumber men 31.0 million to 29.9million) it is certainly a step in the right direction.  In total, 139 women will be members of the new parliament - a slight increase of 2 percent on 2005.

 The election result also heralded many notable first time moments for female MPs.

•    Salma Yaqoob, founder and leader of the Respect Party, Shabana Mahmood and Yasmin Qureshi, Labor candidates for Birmingham Ladywood and Bolton South East, respectively, will become the first female Muslim MP’s to enter government. In fact, a record 22 Asian females stood in this election.

•    The Tory party also saw Margot James, their first openly gay MP, win in Stourbridge, West Midlands. The only other openly gay woman in parliament is Angela Eagle, MP for Wallasey, who retained her Merseyside seat with almost 52 percent of the vote.

•    Caroline Lucas won an historic victory for the Green Party in Brighton Pavilion – until now the Green Party has never had an elected member of parliament and Lucas’ seat will undoubtedly give the party a stronger voice in parliament.
 




words by Becky Middleton

 
  

Women in Focus Editor
05/10/2010
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