UK: As Boris says Parliament must aim for a perfect gender balance: Should we use quotas to boost female MPs?

Article here. Excerpt:

'Sexism exists in Westminster, and it turns me puce with irritation. Yet so, too, does the Prime Minister’s call for women to make up 50 per cent of MPs in Parliament. For here — disguised as a feminist masterstroke — is a woefully backward step.

In pushing for this target, the campaigners are not tackling sexism but aiding and abetting it. Why? Because when women are appointed to tick a box rather than purely on merit, people will suspect the female MPs are sitting on those green benches on account of their ovaries rather than their talents.

Veteran politicians will wonder if the thirty-something filly is there just to take the quota nearer to that magical 50 per cent.

This is maddening for all the capable women who have worked for years to make it into Parliament: sitting on their local council, volunteering, attending endless drinks parties, jumping through hoops to be selected as a candidate.

At a stroke, all these efforts will be undermined. Whatever the woman’s career history or current endeavours, the word ‘tokenism’ will hang around her like a bad smell. And even worse, women will once again be painted as victims in need of special pleading.

It’s unfair, too, on the men who will miss out for no other reason than having the wrong chromosomes.'

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