Women’s Representation and that radical notion of equality

The provisional election results and gender representation are:

  • National: 27.8% women
  • Labour: 37.5%
  • Green: 53.8% (hopefully down to 50% on specials)
  • NZ First: 18.8%
  • Māori: 50%
  • And obviously Act and United Future bring in two men.

This all adds up to fewer women in Parliament, with just over 32%, which may well reduce on specials. 33% is the threshold at which, while far from equality, a minority gender is able to be seen as a person rather than in reference to the dominant group.

Further it is worth noting that in this new government the top five positions are filled by men.

I commented on this photo from after the last election:

Nats 1

This year we get a different angle and they’ve swapped seats:

Nats 2

“Prime Minister John Key meeting with his senior ministers, from left, Gerry Brownlee, Bill English, Steven Joyce and Murray McCully, in his Parnell house. Photo / Mark Mitchell”

If this is based on seniority why are Judith Collins, Hekia Parata or Paula Bennett not in this photo – all of them are more senior than Murray McCully.

Last term we saw valuable, hard fought for protections for the safety of women eroded, we saw women’s representation on State-appointed boards decline and we saw the National Government intervene in the courts against women arguing for pay equity. Representation matters.

The Greens will keep fighting for that radical notion of equality and good decision making.


5 Comments Posted

  1. @Neku: Jan is hoping for the ratio to go down to 50% because the Green Party has a policy that its list should generally alternate between women and men, (and also traditionally so that uneven numbers made likely by polling favour women’s representation) so that if the Greens get a 14th MP from the special vote, the gender ratio will even up.

  2. Do you hate guys or something Jan??
    On and on about equality. You are not a lesser gender because you are not coasting the halls of supposed power.
    If women really want to be in Parliament then they will make that choice.
    Heaven knows we’ve been hearing so much about it over the past couple of decades.
    If Pam Corkery couldn’t cut the mustard in that place perhaps there are a few femmes out there saving themselves the bother!

  3. >Green: 53.8% (hopefully down to 50% on specials)

    I don’t understand. Is this advocating a 50/50 split of men and women in the Green party? Why would you bother trying to reduce the amount of women in a party in a patriarchal society? Shouldn’t a party with a female majority voice be a good thing in a political system dominated by men?

    I may just be misinterpreting things, though…

  4. What will the Greens be doing to fight for ethnic equality? Specifically, what will be done to ensure Asian and Pacific representation in Parliament? I did the math:

    * Asian MPs: 5 (4 National, 1 NZF): under-represented by a stunning 170%: 13.5 seats would be proportionate.
    * Pacifika MPs: 7 (5 Labour, 2 National): under-represented by 20% : 8.5 seats would be proportionate
    * Maori MPs: 26 (9 National, 7 Labour, 2 Maori Party, 5 NZF, 2 Greens): over-represented by 44% : 18 seats would be proportionate.

    I won’t do the math for Pakeha. Even if not overrepresented numerically Pakeha are overrepresented in terms of power.

    I’m particularly worried about Asian representation here. There’s no Asian MPs in Labour or the Greens, and the underrepresentation is stunning. Indeed, I believe that you Jan were the Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson for the Greens last term – given the vast underrepresentation of Asian viewpoints in Parliament why is there no Asian spokesperson?

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