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Centre for Women & Democracy
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26 Roundhay Road

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Record number of women candidates - but still not enough

30 Apr, 2010

Figures puiblished by CFWD today show that just 21% of general election candidates are women - a mere 1% more than in 2005 and only 3% more than in 1997.

The report (which can be downloaded here) examines where the political parties are fielding women candidates, and also looks at the incidence of women as Independents, and as candidates for the smaller parties. It includes figures for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Green Party has the highest percentage of women standing, (33%) with Labour second (30%) and the Conservatives third (24%).

In Northern Ireland, none of the DUP's 16 candidates are women, but 33% of those for the Alliance. 29% of SNP candidates are female, and 18% of Plaid Cymru's.

Women are most likely to stand for election representing one of the larger parties, and much less likely to stand as an Independent (11%). 20% of candidates for very small fringe parties are women.

CFWD continues to predict that the percentage of women in the new House of Commons well be lower than 25%, and may well fall considerbaly below that. Director Nan Sloane said: 'We do not believe that, in one of the oldest democracies in the world, it is acceptable that women constitute less thanĀ  a quarter of elected legislators. After the election we will be raising this as a matter of urgency - you cannot renew a democracy if half of the population is excluded.'