The House of Commons is home to 650 Members of Parliament of which 191 or 29.5% are female which breaks down in the main parties as Liberal Democrats 10 women from 20 MP's (50%), Labour 99 from 232 (42.7%), Scottish National Party 20 from 56 (35.5%) and Conservative 65 out of their 330 MP's (20.7).
The Labour Party make much of their percentage of female MP's and how they are the party for gender equality in Parliament but they are also the party for all women shortlists which to the surprise of many, is not something which i support.
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission ruled recently that using all-women shortlists to increase the number of women in a particular employment constitutes sex discrimination although it is permitted for political parties, as this falls outside of the employment and occupation laws.
The Labour Parties 42.7% figure should then come with an asterisk beside it that shows that the percentage is derived from the pool of their available MP's being manipulated.
It is not just in politics, but should apply in any occupation, that the best person for the job should be hired whether they are male or female, and to choose from a one sex only shortlist means that the person employed was not done so purely on merit, and by not treating the candidates the same, is actually the very opposite of gender equality.
If i was hired based on my gender then it could legitimately argued that i was not talented enough to succeed against a man and that i had to receive an advantage to win.
I don't doubt that picking from a female only list is done so in good faith but it reinforces the notion that men and women are not considered equals at all, that men have to be locked out in order for a women to be given the opportunity.
These women may well be the ideal candidates for the job, without the interference of an all-female shortlist, but this is something that the women will never have the privilege of proving.
If any group which is fighting for equality is given an advantage the question would be asked if they really were the best person for that job or only there due to 'tokenism'.
We need more women in politics, the boardrooms and in the decision making positions but they should be there due to merit, experience and suitability and not as a sop to equality and levelling things up which should be done naturally because otherwise it holds back the gains we have made towards true gender equality.