Thursday, May 23rd

Last update05:08:37 PM GMT

Fawcett Devon Counting Women In


EU Elections Hustings at Honiton

EU2014 hustings Honiton - candidates Lft to Rt K Barnard G Butler E McIvor T McIntyre C Moody

Candidates from  left to right

K Barnard (Lib Dem) G Butler ( Conservative) E McIvor (Green) T McIntyre (Ukip) C Moody (Lab)

Its good to see so many women candidates.

Counting Women In Fawcett Society Campaign


Counting Women In!

5th Mar 2013

Because Equality = Good Politics!

- See more at:

Women have waited long enough for change!

Solving the problem of women’s political under-representation is challenging and complex, and counting women into political life requires action on many fronts. Our whole political culture needs to be changed to work for women, rather than women adapting to fit into outdated cultural moulds: the status quo needs to be revolutionised.

The Fawcett Society has formed a coalition with the Centre for Women and Democracy, the Electoral Reform Society and the Hansard Society to campaign for equal representation of women in British political life. The Counting Women In coalition members have a shared aim  to secure equal representation and influence of women in Parliament and Government at national, regional and local level over the next 10 years.

What we want to see happen:

Because Equality = Good politics

What we’re doing

Fawcett  and its CWI partners are are working with each of the main three parties to help them to increase women’s presence and voice within their parties. We will continue to work with them and to highlight ways that they can take action to increase women’s representation.

The Counting Women In coalition also produces an annual audit of women’s representation across public life. It collects all of the evidence to show how women are faring in powerful positions across public life. Our latest report, Sex and Power 2013, presents a damning picture of women’s access to power and urges parties to take action to redress this inequalit – download it to the right of this page.

Find out more on the Counting Women In website.

- See more at:


Do these parties value women?

Long way to go! - our verdict on the gender ratio of candidates standing in Devon County Council's elections.

Women make up over 50% of the population in Devon.
All things being equal, mightn't you expect a fairly 50/50 gender split amongst the 300+ cendidates willing to stand for election to one or another of Devon's 62 County wards next month?

You would be wrong. Men dominate our local political scene. And they don't appear very willing to change. Four years ago (below) the ratios looked like this -






Lib Dem





















UKIP had the worst ratio. Their men candidates far outnumbered their women candidates. The Conservative Party ratio was also very poor. Their women candidates were outnumbered by their men one to four. Best were the Green Party - getting close to parity.

This year's County election, on the 2nd May, has over 40 more candidates in total than stood in 2009.

It also has more diversity of political 'platform' - for instance -

  • 4 candidates are standing as Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts (all men)
  • 1 candidate is standing as Your Decision To Keep The Lights On (a man),  and
  • 1 candidate is standing on no stated platform at all -(a woman in Fremington Rural Ward)

So does the 2013 table below show any improvement?





Lib Dem




















UKIP keep their wooden spoon. Even though 3 more women are standing for UKIP, that Party's gender ratio has become even worse because of so many additional men candidates.. The Liberal Democrat Party and the Green Party have slipped backwards. The Conservative Party and Labour Party have inched slightly forwards.

This forwards movement takes the Labour Party closest to parity this time.

So... the Green Party four years ago; the Labour Party this year....  we ask two questions. Firstly, if one party can manage it why can't the others? And secondly, once your party has managed near-parity, why allow it to slip so far back?

Ceri Goddard, the Fawcett Society's Chief Executive has been quoted in the Guardian as saying "There is a lot of evidence that even when there is national-level commitment to change, local associations won't necessarily toe the line," … "Asserting local association autonomy from the national leadership can act as convenient cloak to deeply entrenched, if not publicly expressed, sexism." Political Party Selection Panels Are Anti-Women

Clearly, progress is not incremental. Time on its own will not work some magic solution. 

We challenge political parties in Devon to do better.

See also - 
Sex and Power - Who Runs Britain

The Centre For Women and Democracy

Fawcett Society - Women and Power Campaign


 counting in


Calling for more women candidates

If Devon people are ever going to see a County Council that looks representative of its electorate we need far more women to stand in this year's County Council elections. 2nd May.
And the parties must put women candidates in potentially winnable seats. 

We call on women of all ages, ethnic minorities, with or without disabilitites, lesbian or straight - have confidence in your abilities. Stand for election. If no political party attracts you, then you can stand as an independent

Closing date - 12 noon Friday 5th April. For more info see here 


Will May 2nd local election day see gender bias reduced or increased?

In the 2009 County election this is how the parties' gender ratio of candidates looked  (Ind = independents)

Green Liberal Labour Lib Dem Con UKIP Ind total
female 18 3 23 18 12 6 1 81
male 24 4 33 44 50 27 12 194
ratio 1.33 1.33 1.43 2.44 4.17 4.50 12.00 2.40

And after the votes were counted, which parties had the best gender ratio of elected councillors?

Green Ind Labour Lib Dem Con TOTALS
female 1 0 3 4 8 16
male 0 2 1 10 33 46
ratio 0.3 2.5 4.1 2.9


For more on this subject see Centre for Women and Democracy plus  the Fawcett Society's - Women and Power Campaign


Women in Public Life Still Suffer Sexism

Is it any wonder that women still are reluctant to come forward for public office. In Britain we had the 'calm down dear' approach to former cabinet ministers who happen to be women by our own Prime Minister David Cameron . Is there any wonder that women are still underrepresented in the 'mother' of all parliaments. This week on BBC Radio 4 the Book of the week is a biography of Nancy Astor who was abused in a similar vein and frozen out by her colleagues in the Commons. OK so that was the 1920s-30s. So it has really changed then? No sadly not- the Prime Minister of Australia Julia Guillard is testament to this. 

Anyone who hasn't yet had the pleasure of listening to, and watching, Julia Gillard detail the sexist and misogynist attitudes and behaviour of the Opposition.
Go to YouTube - and see for yourself

Thank you Exeter City Council for Listening to Women's Concerns

Exeter City Council has listened and responded to Fawcett Devon’s Concerns about Sexual Entertainment Venues in Exeter City Council.

We are grateful that the council listened to our deep concerns about lap dancing clubs a.k.a. sex entertainment venues or SEVs. Exeter City Council’s Labour groups decision to go out to consult on a Nil policy for SEVs in the new year is greatly welcomed by Fawcett Devon. In response we called off our campaign to demonstrate at the last council meeting at the Civic Centre Exeter.

Councillor Greg Sheldon, Lead Councillor for Environment and Leisure, said: "This is a really important policy and I think it is right that local people should be given the chance to have their say on the operation of lap dancing clubs and similar venues in the city."

The intention is to start the consultation in January 2013, with a view to completing it before County Council elections in May 2013. 

Fawcett Devon opposes sex entertainment venues. They are part of the  sex industry that normalises the objectification of women, commodifying female genitals and breasts for casual purchase. 

We believe most people in Exeter don't want to live in the sort of  culture that fails to recognise sexual predation, disregards the  normalisation of porn attitudes towards women and sees no harm in the commodification of women's bodies.

We hope to help the City Council with its consultation Fawcett Devon has established links with local and national leaders in this field and we would be happy to facilitate a city wide discussion on this issue.

We will be contacting all Fawcett supporters and keeping you informed about the consultation.

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