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Fewer female candidates in Wales than Scottish, English and London elections

04 May 2021 3 minutes Read
Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash

Wales’ Senedd election has a lower percentage of women standing than elections to the Scottish Parliament, London Assembly and England’s local elections, new data reveals.

Analysis of the gender profile of 21,370 candidates standing in elections across the UK this week confirms a drop in the percentage of women seeking office compared with recent years.

The report, a collaboration between the Democracy Club and Fawcett society, collected candidate data collected from ‘Statement of Persons Nominated’ reports, published by councils before an election. These reports include a list of all the candidates that will be running in every vote in the UK on Thursday.

The number of women standing for election has been slowly rising in the past few years, particularly in council elections but the Fawcett Society says the most recent data “shows we are now going backwards on gender equality”.

All-male ballots

Across all elections this week, only 32% of candidates are women, but the London Assembly has the smallest imbalance, with women making up 42% of candidates.

The Police and Crime Commissioner elections have the greatest gender gap with just 22% representation of women.

While 37% of candidates for the Scottish Parliament elections are women, they make up only 31% of candidates standing for the Senedd elections, down from 34% in 2016.

Gender Across May 2021 Elections
Election type Male Female
London Assembly 57% 42%
Scottish Parliament 63% 37%
English Local Elections 68% 32%
Senedd Cymru 69% 31%
English Mayoral Elections 76% 24%
Police and Crime Commissioner 78% 22%

The number of single gender ballots also shows a significant level of imbalance – with 180 all-male ballots across the UK, compared with the number of all-female ballots in single-digits.

The longest all-male ballot across the Welsh, Scottish and London Assembly elections can be found in Cardiff West with nine male candidates slugging it out for a Senedd seat.

Gender split by political party also highlights a divide between England and the devolved nations. In each political party, apart from the Conservatives, the devolved nations have a higher percentage of women candidates than their sister parties in England.

Comparing Percentage of Women Candidates by Political Party and Nation
Party Scotland Wales England
Conservative Party 24% 34% 25%
Labour Party 46% 49% 39%
Liberal Democrats 40% 31% 30%
Green Party 51% 42% 42%
Scottish National Party 47% N/A N/A
Plaid Cymru N/A 37% N/A

Meanwhile, the majority of independent candidates are men (23% women), yet some smaller fringe parties have high levels of women candidates.

Over 40% of Freedom Alliance candidates in Scotland, Wales, and England are women, compared to only 11% of Reform UK candidates women in England, and 16% in Wales.

UKIP candidates breakdown as 20% as women in England and Wales and 26% in Scotland.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Party candidates differ across the UK. In Wales, 50% of TUSC candidates are women whereas in Scotland and England, 33% and 27% of candidates are women respectively.

 

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