Gender equality in the new UK MEPs


Click the image to make it bigger.

There has often been discussion of the problem of gender equality in the halls of power, both in Westminster and in the EU. Political parties increasingly put in place systems to encourage or even ensure gender parity in the election of politicians. I previously worked with Opcit Research on a project for the European Parliament, relating to whether parties’ use of strategies to increase parity actually worked in practice. A rudimentary exercise involves simply checking the sex of elected MEPs by party. The closer to 50% they come in terms of sex, the closer they are to gender parity. Of course, it is a slightly tricky exercise when the numbers of MEPs are very small, because there is a greater impact from one MEP being either male or female when there are small numbers of MEPs in total.

Anyway, the table in the image above shows the data for the UK in the recent 2019 European elections. As you can see (click on the image to make it bigger), for parties with more than one MEP, generally there is very good parity. The Green Party even has an over-representation of female MEPs. However, the Brexit Party is pretty poor in terms of female representation. Considering the large number of MEPs they have, this looks like a reliable and systematic lack of gender parity. It is highly likely that they have no systems in place to encourage proportionate female representation.

Interestingly, the parties with only one MEP all returned female candidates. This, and the good showing of other parties made up for a lot of the male bias in the Brexit Party, resulting in a near-parity overall with 34 of the 73 MEPs (47%) being female.

The data for this analysis was taken from the Wikipedia page here.