This article originally appeared in The Herald
Although, overall, women were slightly less likely to vote Yes than men in the independence referendum, the upswing in voter turnout and in support for the Yes campaign was due in no small part to grassroots women’s organisations campaigning for independence.
Scotland has a female First Minister, who competes in Holyrood with a female Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, as well as a female leader of the Scottish Conservatives. While this should be welcomed, we should not assume that the problem of women’s under representation is solved for good, and instead look at what statutory measures could do to achieve lasting positive change, argue Meryl Kenny, Fiona MacKay, and Cera Murtagh.
How do women engage differently in referenda and elections? And why does this matter? These were some of the questions explored at Feminizing Politics ESRC Seminar in Edinburgh last month on ‘Voice: Women, the Independence Referendum 2015, and the General Election 2015’. Cera Murtagh (University of Edinburgh) reports.
The 2015 General Election is one of the most unpredictable electoral contests in British political history. Amidst all the post-election scenario discussions, though, lies one political certainty – the overwhelming majority of the MPs elected to the House of Commons on 7 May will be men.