Primarily, I disagree with the idea that Parliament should be 50% Male and 50% Female. There are 646 MPs, which means that, if it was half men and half women, there should be 323 Men and 323 Woman, and this transformation would be done by parties putting female candidates up in safe seats, in places such as Liverpool (an example being the fact that the Labour candidate in the Liverpool Walton constituency received an overwhelming 72% of the vote.) This would increase equality in Parliament, but would it be right? Would it be of benefit to the country?
I have spoken to many women and many feminists on this matter, and they wholly agree with my opinion- although I have not spoken to 'hardcore' feminists, as they scare me a little, I do not believe that women should get their seats, purely because they are women. Surely that is defeating the whole principle of feminism; that women are equal to men. This makes it apparent that they are not, because it is highly likely that women are going to be told to take these seats by men. A token female, you could say. Surely it would be of benefit to everyone, if the places were taken meritocratically; the women get the seats if they are more skilled at the profession than the man contesting that seat- If the man is better at the job, the man gets the job, if the woman is better at the job, the woman gets the job. I believe, therefore, that it is all about opportunity, and that women do not get those opportunities presented to them like men do. So, as is the case in many problems in this country, it all stems back to education. I'll take my local area, as an example. The two main schools are single sex schools; an all boys and an all girls. The all boys school teaches Politics, and all girls school does not; preferring sociology as an option. The introduction of Politics into the curriculum as a core subject; ensuring that every pupil does the basics, could encourage more young women into politics, providing them with a platform to express their political opinion- something that could also solve the problem of political apathy. This could increase the chances of there becoming more women taking politics at A level and at University in order to become a member of parliament (a recent example is my attendance at a university open day; the politics lecturer asking of those present, who would like to become an MP, with 4 Male hands up, and 1 Female.). This could be a vital tool to increase the representation of women, and could have helped to oppose this harsh programme of cuts passed by this government which are to affect women twice as much as men.
Women have a place in politics just as much as men do, and anyone who thinks otherwise is mistaken, but in the process of women being handed seats because they are women, I believe that they are gaining advantages because of their gender; one of the main reasons feminism is strong is due to the fact this has happened to men time and time again. This would, in my opinion, provide an unwarranted mockery of feminism as a principle; the main reason as to why I am against this happening. To gain equal representation, I believe that universal education and opportunities should be enforced, giving those prospective talented women members of parliament the platform of which to begin their career, and the presence of an equal starting point for each gender, to shape future parliaments as to talent and interest, rather than as to what gender they are.
As writing this, the idea of gender not even being mentioned in any context would be ideal. It shouldnt matter in any situation as to whether someone is a man or woman, as it should not influence whether they get the job they go for, whether they have the opportunity to do something or not, or as to whether they are given extra treatment. Regardless of gender, ethnicity, age or class, opportunity and education should be equal, therefore leading to more equal representation in both Parliament and big businesses.
I am all behind Feminism, but I am behind the idea of Meritocracy also. Equality goes both ways. If the woman is better than the man, then she should get the job, if the man is better than the woman, he should get the job. What is there wrong with that?
I think that this quote, from Jane Galvin Lewis, describes it excellently;
"You don't have to be anti-man to be pro-woman."