Gender diversity data: Lords EU Justice Committee challenges government and raises issue with Women and Equalities Committee
The Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee has written to Chloe Smith MP, Minister for the Constitution, to ask why the Government continues to oppose mandatory publication of gender diversity data for European Parliament elections.
The publication of gender diversity data for elections is important for determining how much progress is being made towards gender balance in politics. The Committee is focussing on European Parliament elections, but the proposal has particular resonance in this the centenary year of the first votes for women in the UK, in which the Prime Minister has stated her desire to encourage female representation in the UK Parliament.
The proposal is included in a draft regulation about the funding of European political parties and foundations, which the Committee has been scrutinising since November 2017. The Committee has engaged in extensive correspondence with the Government about the need for mandatory publication of this data, but the Government has yet to provide a convincing argument for wanting only voluntary publication. The Committee has written back to again challenge the Government, and has also raised the matter with the Women and Equalities Committee.
Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws, Chair of the EU Justice Sub-Committee said: “We are perplexed by the Government's negative stance on the proposal for the publication of gender diversity data for European Parliament elections. The public has a right to know whether political parties are putting forward female candidates. A voluntary system won't be enough, so we are again calling on the Government to support the mandatory publication of gender diversity data.”