How does Scotland’s equal gender cabinet compare with its UK equivalent?
Scotland’s new female first minister Nicola Sturgeon has introduced a cabinet in which there are as many women as men. That is much better than the UK as a whole but its parliament is not so far ahead
As well as getting its first female leader, the Scottish government now has a cabinet on which both genders are equally represented.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her cabinet was:
A clear demonstration that this government will work hard in all areas to promote women, to create gender equality and it sends out a strong message that the business of redressing the gender balance in public life starts right here in government
It certainly contrasts with the headlines bemoaning the poor gender split on the UK’s cabinet whenever there is a reshuffle. Westminster has quite a way to go to catch up.
There are five female ministers in both the UK and Scottish cabinets but 17 men in Westminster compared to just five in Holyrood.
This discrepancy has not always been so severe though. Former first minister Alex Salmond presided over several cabinets with gender splits that were nothing to boast about.
The December 2009 reshuffle led to a cabinet of six ministers, five of which (83%) were men. It was only in the April 2014 reshuffle, a few months ahead of the independence referendum that significant strides were made towards gender equality.
The cabinet is only one part of political machinery, it is also worth looking at the representation across the entire parliament. The Westminster chamber is 22.6% female, which puts the UK someway below the EU average for gender representation.
How does the Scottish parliament compare?
Scottish parliament, which is just over a third female, has better gender representation than most countries in the EU. It still lies behind some of the major economies such as Germany (36.5%) and Spain (38.7%), as well as the Nordic ones where around 40% – way above the EU average – of parliamentarians are women.
Bemoan: lamentarse, quejarse stride: avance, adelanto
Catch up: Alcanzar / ponerse al día
Boast: presumir, alardear
The Gurdian, 24th November 2014