Trends in Womens Political Representation in Scotland Meryl Kenny ([email protected]) Visiting Fellow, University of Edinburgh Vice-Chancellors Fellow, University of New South Wales Constitutional Futures Seminar Session II: Constitutions, Quotas and Womens Political Representation 14-15 February 2013 Trends over Time: Scottish Parliament Elections Trends over Time: post-1999 Overall trend of stasis or regression in numbers of female MSPs elected post-1999 in the majority of the main Scottish parties Labour only party to adopt strong quota measures across all elections
(but post-1999 low cost measures aimed at regional lists) Use of quotas in 1999 (particularly Labours twinning of constituency seats) continues to hold up headline figures, but overall decline in recruitment/election of female candidates Womens representation no longer a matter of party competition Progress post-1999 brought about more by accident than design, and gender quotas/gender balance still poorly institutionalized within parties (Mackay, 2003; Mackay and Kenny, 2007; Kenny and Mackay, 2011) Source: Kenny and Mackay (2011) Trends over Time: Scottish political parties
P r o p o r tio n o f w o m e n a m o n g M S P s , b y p a r ty , 1 9 9 9 2011 6 0 p e r c e n ta g e w o m e n 5 0 4 0 L a b o u r S N P 3 0 C o n L ib D e m 2 0 1 0
0 1 9 9 9 2 0 0 3 2 0 0 7 e l e c ti o n y e a r 2 0 1 1 Womens Representation in Scotland at other levels How were gains achieved? Windows of opportunity provided by wider reform processes party and political modernization & feminization, institutional change &
constitutional restructuring, and wider international trends (quota fever) Electoral reform at Scottish Parliament level new avenues & more places for women (and no incumbents) Sustained campaign within/outwith political parties on womens representation (esp. Labour) Agreements on gender equality/womens representation through SCC, Electoral Contract, womens conferences, White Paper & Scotland Act Womens representation widely accepted as a general principle and
as a matter of party competition (Kenny and Mackay, 2013) Key Lessons (1) Change can happen...but need to be vigilant Importance of organized womens activists and allies, but gender equality issues can easily slip off of the agenda (Mackay and McAllister, 2012) Numbers matter...but arent everything Prominent role of women in Scottish Parliament has shaped political priorities and ways of working (Mackay et al. 2003). But, link not always straightforward & future progress uncertain Quotas work...but once is not enough Equality measures havent caught on across parties or political levels (Kenny and Mackay, 2013) Implementation is key: importance of winnable seats/positions, transparency/accountability, and effective sanctions for noncompliance (Kenny and Verge, 2013) Key Lessons (2)
Scotland still a leader...but for how long? 1999 and 2003 as high tide of womens representation in Scotland? Continued reluctance of major parties to take bold and sustained action Wider trends of glacial progress, stagnation or slippage in womens representation over time and across different levels Is womens representation too important to be left up to political parties? Time has come for stronger measures, including mandatory legal quotas References and Resources University of Edinburgh Gender Politics Blog: www.genderpoliticsatedinburgh.wordpress.com M. Kenny (2013) Gender and Political Recruitment: Theorizing Institutional Change. Basingstoke:
Palgrave. M. Kenny and F. Mackay (2013) When is Contagion not very Contagious? Dynamics of Womens Political Representation in Scotland, Parliamentary Affairs (doi: 10.1093/pa/gss109). M. Kenny and T. Verge (2013) Decentralization, Political Parties and Womens Representation: Evidence from Spain and Britain, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 43 (1), 109-128. F. Mackay and L. McAllister (2012) Feminising British Politics: Six Lessons from Devolution in Scotland and Wales, Political Quarterly, 83 (3), 730-734. M. Kenny and F. Mackay (2012) Less Male, Pale and Stale? Women and the 2012 Scottish Local Government Elections, Scottish Affairs, 80 (Summer), 20-32.
M. Kenny and F. Mackay (2011) In the Balance: Women and the 2011 Scottish Parliament Elections, Scottish Affairs, 76 (Summer), 74-90. F. Mackay and M. Kenny (2007) Womens Representation in the 2007 Scottish Parliament: Temporary Setback or Return to the Norm?, Scottish Affairs, 60 (Summer), 25-38. F. Mackay (2003) Women and the 2003 elections: keeping up the momentum, Scottish Affairs, 44 (Summer), 74-90. F. Mackay, F. Myers and A. Brown (2003) Towards a new politics? Women and the Constitutional Change in Scotland in A. Dobrowolsky and V. Hart (eds) Women Making Constitutions. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 84-98. M. Russell, F. Mackay and L. McAllister (2002) Womens Representation in the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales: Party Dynamics for Achieving Critical Mass, Journal of Legislative Studies, 8 (2), 49-76.
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