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Tory MS slams plans for introduction of Senedd gender quotas

16 Jun 2022 2 minutes Read
Natasha Asghar speaking in the Senedd.

Conservative MS Natasha Asghar has attacked proposals to introduce gender quotas to the Senedd.

The introduction of quotas is one of a raft of reforms put forward as part of the cooperation agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Labour Party.

The Senedd committee drawing up the plans recommended placing a legal obligation on parties to present equal numbers of men and women on their candidate lists but also acknowledged there was a possibility of a legal challenge because powers over most equality and discrimination issues lie in Westminster and not Cardiff.

Inclusive

Writing in Politics Home, Ms Asghar the first woman of colour to be elected as an MS, said she wants the Senedd to be as inclusive and diverse as possible but believes “politicians should be elected on merit – not simply because they tick the right boxes.”

“I want to see a Senedd that has more women, more people of colour, more disabled politicians, and more members of the LGBTQ+ community,” she said.

“However, politicians should be elected on merit – not simply because they tick the right boxes, which is what I fear will happen in Wales under these plans.

“I am proud of the fact that I am the first woman of colour to be elected to the Senedd, but I did not get here simply because of the colour of my skin. I got where I am today on my own merit through equal competition,” she added.

There should be no gender balance. No all-women shortlist. No positive discrimination. People across Wales, who we as politicians serve, deserve to know that Senedd members are in post because they are good at their job – not because they tick all the boxes to fulfil an artificial quota.

The reform proposals, which would also see the number of Members increase from 60 to 96, and a change to the voting system for electing them, were discussed in the Senedd last week and were backed by 40 votes to 14.

The Welsh Conservatives strongly oppose the changes and have called for a referendum to be held before they are introduced.


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John
John
18 days ago

She says that “politicians should be elected on merit”.
What she doesn’t say is, it is much easier when you just have to step into Daddy’s shoes.

Last edited 18 days ago by John
CapM
CapM
18 days ago
Reply to  John

Who needs quotas when there are dynasties.

Phil
Phil
18 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Just ask the Kinnock boy

Phil
Phil
17 days ago
Reply to  Phil

….and, closer to home, Mr Sargeant up in Alyn and Deeside.

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
18 days ago

How surprising, a Tory that hates women, I am deeply surprised, no really I am, you can’t see it but I am pulling a very shocked face at the moment, my mouth is so wide in startlement that you could fit a large donation of money from a Russian Oligarch that is close personal friends with Vladamir Putin into it.

CJPh
CJPh
18 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

What exactly has she said that is hateful towards women?

anon
anon
17 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

What are you talking about?

Glen
Glen
18 days ago

I find it hard to disagree.
Quotas patronise minorities and smacks of tokenism.

CapM
CapM
18 days ago
Reply to  Glen

But don’t women form the majority of our population.
What’s the logic behind branding the aim to address the under representation of that majority (that is women) as tokenism.

CJPh
CJPh
18 days ago
Reply to  CapM

It’s the framework you propose – an elected representative is put into place by the direct will of the people. By mandating who can be set in place by their immutable characteristics, it is not only undemocratic but essentialises whichever characteristics are being preferred. Has Ms Ashgar been voted into place by women of colour solely? No, her votes came from those who reside in her ward – Black, white, Asian, man, woman, gay, straight, tall, short etc. She represents them for 4 years. The logic is predicated on a democratic framework for voting. I’d love to see a more… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by CJPh
Phil
Phil
17 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

It seems a little like Hong Kong election candidates which have to be approved by the Chinese government. ‘You can vote for whomsoever you like from the list provided’
That’s not democracy.

CapM
CapM
17 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

“Has Ms Ashgar been voted into place by women of colour solely? No, her votes came from those who reside in her ward – Black, white, Asian, man, woman, gay, straight, tall, short etc. She represents them for 4 years.” You miss the point. It’s not about determining who votes for which candidate. It’s about balancing the selection process of political parties so that there is a more representative selection of candidates available for election. Therefore a Senedd more representative of the people of Cymru arises. Opening up opportunities for party candidacies is not a new or novel idea as… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
17 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Sorry, didn’t make myself clear enough. I fully understand the concept; highlighting the voting make-up of any given group of constituents and the time constraint of the office was merely to suggest that the selection process should be reciprocal – open, meritocratic and fair. The proposed quota system is the opposite of “opening up opportunities for party candidacies”, it is a constraint. Now, if a party chooses to do this themselves, great. But the electoral system itself should not. Plenty of talented and politically active people in Wales, many from diverse or marginalised backgrounds.

CapM
CapM
16 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

Again the process of voting for candidates is separate from the selection of candidates by parties.. Apart from a few local party members, or the party itself or in some cases the party based in England we the voters don’t get to choose what candidates stand for election. At the moment we are presented with candidates who are predominately men. Some good some bad some useless. The quota suggested would mean we would be presented with candidates roughly 50/50 men and women. Some good, some bad, some useless. We won’t necessarily get better candidates than we do now but the… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
16 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Yes. The “some good, some bad some useless” is the point which undermines this method – “Two great female candidates, but have to have parity, so let’s put in a sub-optimal male candidate instead of one” is a potential outcome. I’d happily take 100% female reps if all were amazing but think that further enfranchisement of the public, rather than an undemocratic mandate, will lead to a natural parity over time. Predicating any part of the democratic process on preferring immutable characteristics is no different in practice than previous centuries where the criteria for standing was being a landowner and… Read more »

Gareth Westacott
Gareth Westacott
18 days ago

We are not on the same side of the fence politically, but I agree with her.

Phil
Phil
18 days ago

What makes me laugh is the Labour Party calling for all-women shortlists yet they struggle to identify what a woman is!

Glen
Glen
18 days ago
Reply to  Phil

All women shortlists insult women by implying they are not smart enough to compete with men on an equal basis.

CapM
CapM
18 days ago
Reply to  Glen

Who are these people who are so easily convinced by such an implication? Surely anyone who thinks that women are smart enough to be as effective at being politicians as men would dismiss the implication that they are not as pure drivel.

CJPh
CJPh
18 days ago
Reply to  CapM

It is drivel. That is why they can stand, compete and succeed, and increasingly so – we see the line trending upward for these metrics without the need for quotas. If a quota system proves to be disastrous or massively unpopular it provides political ammo to supremacist or nativist racists, regressive sexists and homophobes. You can’t fight the will for hateful discrimination with paternalism.

CapM
CapM
17 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

I don’t think quotas for women candidates will make people become” supremacist or nativist racists, regressive sexists and homophobes. “. They will have been “supremacist or nativist racists, regressive sexists and homophobes” regardless of whether there are quotas or not.

Personally I’d rather that the pace of moving towards a Senedd fully representative of the needs, views and visions of both the women and men of Cymru not be dependent on the intransigence of “supremacist or nativist racists, regressive sexists and homophobes ” .

CJPh
CJPh
17 days ago
Reply to  CapM

I didn’t say thy a quota system would “make people” bigoted, it merely provides cover for such people to slip back into the rightmost frame of the Overton window by latching onto claims of gerrymandering and, slyly, by pointing to the very same palpable tokenism and paternalism that Ms Ashgar would like to avoid. Backlash and overcorrection should not be things easily hand-waved away by progressives. We all (well, mostly) want to see everyone in Wales feel political empowerment and be afforded equal opportunity. Selective disenfranchisement to further the numbers of selected groups is, at best, a short term strategy… Read more »

CapM
CapM
16 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

Ms Asghar wasn’t able to avoid seamlessly following her father into the regional list seat he had previously held. Whatever the merits of a quotas of female candidates I don’t think that she is any position to call them out. Unless she’s imagines she can treat the electorate as though they had the memory of goldfish.

CJPh
CJPh
16 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Ah c’mon, mun! She still had to get elected! I don’t like her party, don’t know much about her as a politician or a person, but claiming that she got to her current position purely because of nepotism rather than merit (which the voting system provides) seems a little bit too far.

CapM
CapM
16 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

The issue Ms Asghar commented on was the selection of candidates by parties and not the election of candidates by voters. She didn’t get selected as a candidate as part of a quota however to me it looks like by inheriting her father’s candidacy. Hence I think she’s in no position to call foul.

CJPh
CJPh
16 days ago
Reply to  CapM

That would be one thing, but it isn’t at all what she or I have said – It’s quotas in the senedd she’s speaking against, not internal party policy, as her comments and the article suggests. As I have stated, if any given party wants to mandate a quota, that’s fine. Ms Ashgar doesn’t want that inserted into the election process itself. You’re free to question the nature of her selection but, to be perfectly honest, I’d prefer a system which allows for nepotism in selection (which can be remedied at the ballot box) than the system barring certain candidates… Read more »

CapM
CapM
15 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

As many people vote for the party rather than the person remedying at the ballot box is not possible. Neither would it be possible given quotas. But the issue is beyond the above it’s about getting to a situation where the composition of the Senedd reflects the male/female composition of the male/female population.

I think pushing it towards this by quotas is preferable to standing back and taking it as a matter of faith that things will work out in the end (assisted by eg nepotism).

CJPh
CJPh
13 days ago
Reply to  CapM

There’s bedrock. And now a retooled “we’ll agree to disagree” that’s more apt – we disagree. Peace and love, a diolch am dy warineb yn y sgwrs ‘ma

Llinos
Llinos
17 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

I hate to risk becoming the subject of another Nation Cymru fatwa, but the line is trending upwards precisely because of quotas, all female selection lists and diversity & inclusion training. This is not opinion. There is data to support this (though before you ask I have no intention of wasting my time posting it here). Before this there were ridiculously few female politicians and the ones we had were very much of the Margaret Thatcher, Mo Mowlam, type. They had to be way better, way more hard nosed than their peers just to get heard, and were called all… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by Llinos
CJPh
CJPh
17 days ago
Reply to  Llinos

Yes, online and real life harassment of women is a serious problem, but I struggle to see how that’s relevant to this discussion. It’s tough to claim that data suggests without pointing to the data (or in your case, refusing to) but let’s take it at face value: Quotas achieve the desired effect. What are the long term effects? Has public trust in the Political process, parties or politicians gone up? Are women getting increasingly elected from parties that have no quota system? Does the notion that a government should reflect the immutable characteristics of the populace (selected characteristics, not… Read more »

Llinos
Llinos
17 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

Pure sophistry. 1. Say I Pointed you to the correct data. Would you download the JSON? Would you review it with good intentions? Or would you simply dismiss it out of hand as flawed, thereby completely wasting my time? We know the answer to that. 2. The desired effect was more diversity in politics. This has been achieved. All those other add-ons are your own specious caveats, mostly statistically irrelevant, and unanswerable without further research – which may get carried out in a more relevant setting , just not by me. You are engaging the demands from complexity fallacy. 3.… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by Llinos
CJPh
CJPh
17 days ago
Reply to  Llinos

So pointing to potential unintended consequences due to a univeriant goal within a complex system is sophistry? Still haven’t learned the definition of that term, I see. Then it’s back to outright refusals, “we all know the answer” and more aspersions. My opinions are not fact, nor have I stated they are – I mainly ask questions. If any data (or a reasonable philosophical position) could be provided that shows me that the proposed system is fair, I’ll move. Your refusal to share data (and, previously, to read provided data) is the quintessence of “bad faith”. Questioning the merit of… Read more »

Llinos
Llinos
16 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

And your response is once again the quintessence of sophistry. (Both words used within the acceptable Oxford English Dictionary definitions of the words). I have noticed that is an introductory gambit of many of your obfuscatory posts. Picking on people’s understanding of words to establish your intellectual superiority. Two rhetorical fallacies in one. Then you like to introduce demands for irrelevant and impossibly complex evidence, and focus in to an irrelevancy to try and distract from the key point, then expand outwards until the key point is indistinguishable from a whole lot of things not pertinent to the discussion. I’d… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
16 days ago
Reply to  Llinos

Any evidence would be nice, especially when making evidence-dependent statements like “we know from experience” or “the evidence shows”. Misreading and bad analysis happen often. Then more meanness, spite and bad attempts at wit. Please stop harassing me.

Phil
Phil
15 days ago
Reply to  Llinos

Great verbosity!

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
18 days ago

This is a tedious hackneyed discussion. We know by experience that we are far better governed the more our legislators are reflective of society as a whole. Quotas are a regrettable necessity where no other means has been found to achieve this.

CJPh
CJPh
18 days ago

Which experience? Serious question. I’m not unmovable on this.

Llinos
Llinos
17 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

Not one single experience, obviously.
No it’s not.
Yes you are.

CJPh
CJPh
17 days ago
Reply to  Llinos

Cai my have the data that proves his point, Llinos. I have asked him to provide it. You are free to insert yourself into the conversations of others but I hope Cai knows he can speak for himself.

Llinos
Llinos
16 days ago
Reply to  CJPh

Oh? So you wait until you are invited into posts on message boards do you? I’d like to see the evidence for THAT? Or must WOMEN wait to be invited like your conversations are like a 20th century golf club?
Cai can of course speak for himself. But I was speaking to YOU “Your Grace”.
Your demand for data is that fallacy you almost ALWAYS open with.

CJPh
CJPh
16 days ago
Reply to  Llinos

What part of “You are free to insert yourself into the conversations of others” suggests I’m asking you to ask? You seem to have misunderstood. I have no evidence short of your username that you are in fact a woman and I am treating you as I do every interlocutor. When a statement is made that says any variation of “We know due to the evidence”, it is not fallacious (please bone up on them, Llinos – your lack of understanding in rhetorical terminology is rather embarrassing), it’s an entirely normal response. A lack of response or, as you do,… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
18 days ago

Slam bang thank you Ma’am! Another Tory shouting off at the mouth. This is the one who couldn’t take a job with her father because Plaid rules forbade it isn’t it? I seem to recall his (and her) sudden transformation to Toryhood having found a great and belated love for the Queen.

arthur owen
18 days ago

‘ I did not get here because of the colour of my skin’ no Ms Ashkgar you got there because ,among other things,you are your late father’s daughter.

Phil
Phil
18 days ago
Reply to  arthur owen

Are you insinuating that she wouldn’t have been elected but for her father?

Paul
Paul
17 days ago
Reply to  Phil

It is a distinct possibility… One could add … What does “good at the job” mean when discussing a politician?

Phil
Phil
15 days ago
Reply to  Paul

Good response!

CapM
CapM
17 days ago
Reply to  Phil

She got a job as assistant to her father when he was an AM. As a Plaid Cymru AM he shouldn’t have employed a family member (I think he also employed his wife). He then defected to the Conservatives as a matter of principle. I wonder what that principle was!
It’s difficult to see Natashia Asghar’s subsequent candidacy as a conservative as not having something to do with her being her father’s daughter. Unless members the Asghar family are the only ones with the ability to be Conservative regional list SMs

Phil
Phil
15 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Possibly should amend that one sentence to ‘He then defected to the Conservatives as a matter of lack of principle’

Rob
Rob
18 days ago

I am not a tory, but I have to agree with her. When I vote for a candidate in an election I vote for the one who best represents my views. Whether or not they are male, female, black or white is completely irrelevant. By all means we must ensure that everyone is given the same opportunities, and barriers that prevent women or non-white people need to be taken down. But quota systems are patronising, insulting, and have the opposite effect. They create more divisions. We will end up with people saying ‘they only got the role because they are… Read more »

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
18 days ago

Interesting election result in Texas South, where Mayra Flores flipped the “forever” Democrat seat to the Republicans on a God, Family and Country line. Seems the Latino vote has swung. Now Ms Asghar is saying that women don’t need quotas.
Damn right!

Last edited 18 days ago by I.Humphrys
Rob
Rob
17 days ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

Exactly. Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Marjorie Taylor Greene are hardly champions of women’s rights. If they had it their way abortion would be criminalised even if the girl was raped

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
18 days ago

Why do so many people get so upset at the prospect of being represented by a women?

And don’t try to tell me it’s the quotas you don’t like, it isn’t very convincing.

CJPh
CJPh
18 days ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Not the best Kafka Trap ever set but nice try

Glen
Glen
17 days ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

I doubt anyone is ‘upset’ at being represented by a woman as long as she is the best person available.
It’s box ticking exercises most people object to.

The Senedd needs to improve in quality as well as quantity.
There’s a dearth of talent amongst all parties at present.

Phill
Phill
17 days ago

How can we have gender quotas when we have a first minster that can’t even define what a woman is?

Rob
Rob
17 days ago

Are quota systems a form of sexism?

CapM
CapM
17 days ago

As a matter of interest have any women commented on this story?

Llinos
Llinos
17 days ago
Reply to  CapM

We wouldn’t dare. The posters here wear their isms as a badge of honour

Llinos
Llinos
17 days ago
Reply to  Llinos

In fact thinking about it, I have only seen about three women ever post regularly on this site (plus a few troll identities of “Tim”’s)
Reading the posts you can kind of see why. I’d be careful of showing support for diversity and inclusivity. Them above will come after you like a plague. They did it to me before. They did it to my 18 year old son yesterday. It sort of explains why Yes Cymru membership numbers have halved from 18000 to 9000 since Sion Jobbins left and why this site has so few regular posters.

Last edited 17 days ago by Llinos
Phil
Phil
15 days ago
Reply to  Llinos

How do we know Llinos is a woman?

Phil
Phil
15 days ago
Reply to  Llinos

Could be a bit like your ‘ists’ then

Keith Gogarth
Keith Gogarth
17 days ago

If it goes ahead I shall make it a point of voting for any white heterosexual, male what ever the party

Last edited 17 days ago by Keith Gogarth
Llinos
Llinos
17 days ago
Reply to  Keith Gogarth

Same as usual?

CapM
CapM
16 days ago
Reply to  Keith Gogarth

What if the choice was between a black heterosexual male and a white homosexual male.
Decisions decisions Keith. I don’t envy the dilemma you’d be in.

Phil
Phil
15 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Would probably not bother voting….

CJPh
CJPh
16 days ago
Reply to  Keith Gogarth

Ych a fi. Mochyndra llwyr.

Last edited 16 days ago by CJPh

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