09 JUNE 2017

  • Women’s representation in Parliament stalls at 32%
  • 207 women MPs returned to Parliament, 11 more than before the election
  • Labour have 31 more women MPs and Conservatives lose three

(Note: this press release published before Kensington announced their vote count, bringing the final number of women MPs to 208)

The June 2017 general election has seen women’s representation in Parliament break the 200 barrier for the first time, with 207 women winning seats. However, this represents only a 2 percentage point increase. If the UK only improves by this much at each election, we will not see equal representation in Parliament until 2062.

The Labour Party managed to slightly increase its proportion of women MPs to 45% from 44% before the election, as it increased its overall seat numbers. The Conservative Party saw no increase, with women’s representation stuck at 21%, while the Liberal Democrats now have four women MPs, a third of their parliamentary party.

38 of the women MPs returned to Parliament are new to their seats in 2017, comprising 17% of all women MPs. 8 of these new women MPs are Conservative, 24 are Labour, 4 are Liberal Democrat, with one each for Sinn Fein and the DUP.

Analysis for the Fawcett Society based on the Electoral Calculus model in early May had suggested that women’s representation could have increased by even less, but Labour gains have led to an overall slight increase.

Commenting, Sam Smethers, Fawcett Chief Executive, said:

“The outcome of this election was a surprise to many pollsters, but it has seen more Labour women MPs elected. The Conservative Party has not seen a significant reduction in women MPs despite losing seats.

“But the real story is that progress has stalled. Getting more women in cannot be subject to party political fortunes. As we approach the centenary of women first getting to vote in general elections, we cannot wait for another 9 elections to achieve equality.

“We agree with the recommendation of the cross-party Women and Equalities Select Committee that 45% of each party’s candidates must be women. The time has come for a legally enforceable target to achieve the radical and sustainable change we need.”

Download the full press release here.

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Fawcett’s Women's Manifesto called for:

  • Women to be represented at every level and stage of Brexit negotiations.
  • An increase in the national living wage to bring it up to the level of the real living wage.
  • An extended, dedicated, well paid period of leave for fathers
  • A requirement for large companies who have to report their gender pay gaps to have an action plan in place, and penalties for those who do not comply.
  • A long-term, national, and sustainable funding strategy for specialist women-only services including domestic violence refuges, in order to meet our Istanbul Convention obligations.
  • A National Care Service, giving social care parity with the NHS, and investing in social care infrastructure with a professionalised care workforce.

The Manifesto also addresses equal representation; defending women’s rights post-Brexit; ending violence against women and girls, and ensuring women are not hardest hit by any economic downturn or spending cuts.

Download Fawcett's Women's Manifesto here.

Why does equal representation in Parliament matter?