10th July 2024 

The recent general election marks a significant milestone in the journey toward gender equality in UK politics.

With women now making up 40.5% of the House of Commons, up from 35% in the last Parliament, this election has brought women's representation closer to parity than ever before. A total of 263 women MPs now serve in Parliament, compared to 226 in the previous term. This historic achievement reflects the growing momentum for gender equality in political representation.

Download Fawcett's full post-election report

Key Findings from the Election Results

  1. Increased Representation:

    • The number of women MPs has reached an all-time high of 263, making up 40.5% of the House of Commons.
    • For the first time, the total number of women MPs in history has surpassed the capacity of the House, with 693 women MPs elected since 1918.
  2. Diversity in Parliament:

    • The representation of Black and minoritised women has also seen progress, with 50 MPs (7.7% of the House) compared to 39 in the last Parliament.
    • This brings the UK closer to true representation, though there is still a shortfall compared to the national population.
  3. Party-wise Representation:

    • Labour Party: 46% women MPs
    • Liberal Democrats: 45% women MPs
    • Conservative Party: 24% women MPs
    • SNP: 11% women MPs
    • Despite an overall increase, the proportion of women in each party has seen slight declines, indicating the need for continuous efforts to ensure women's representation.
  4. Gender Equality in the Cabinet:

    • The new cabinet is the most gender-equal ever, with 46% women, compared to 31% in the previous Conservative cabinet.
    • However, only two women of minoritised and mixed ethnicities are included, highlighting the need for improved diversity.

Impact on Women's Issues

Women MPs have historically driven significant legislative changes that benefit women. Examples include:

  • Equal Pay Act 1970: Championed by Barbara Castle MP, addressing wage disparity.
  • Equality Act 2010: Introduced by Harriet Harman MP, consolidating anti-discrimination laws.
  • Women's Health Strategy 2022: Launched by Maria Caulfield MP, focusing on improving health outcomes for women and girls.
  • Worker Protection Bill 2023: Introduced by Wera Hobhouse MP, ensuring workplace protections against harassment.

Future Priorities for Women's Issues

  1. Affordable Childcare:

    • Implementing Fawcett's 10-point blueprint for early childhood education and care.
    • Investing in comprehensive workforce strategies and challenging stereotypes in early education.
  2. Workplace Equality:

    • Promoting flexible work options and redesigning parental leave.
    • Strengthening gender pay gap reporting and increasing pay transparency.
    • Protecting women from workplace harassment.
  3. Public Service Reform:

    • Ensuring public services are safe for women by addressing misogynoir and making misogyny a hate crime.
    • Reducing the gender health gap and ensuring no woman is criminalized for seeking an abortion.

Steps Toward a Gender-Equal Parliament by 2028

To achieve full gender parity in Parliament, the following actions are crucial:

  • Candidate Selection: Ensuring women, especially from underrepresented groups, are selected in winnable seats.
  • Eliminating Structural Barriers: Reviewing and improving candidate selection processes.
  • Introducing Quotas: Implementing quotas with accompanying action plans to boost women's representation.
  • Parental Leave Policies: Introducing proper parental leave for MPs.
  • Data Transparency: Commencing Section 106 of the Equality Act 2010 to monitor and report candidate data.

The Fawcett Society calls on all political parties and the Government to take these steps to ensure a truly representative Parliament by the Centenary of Equal Franchise in 2028.

We won't stop until we have full equality.

Join Fawcett today and become a part of the unstoppable movement towards truly equal representation at every level.