Several US studies from the 1980s to the 2000s have found that women are more likely to make women’s issues a priority and more likely to sponsor women’s issues bills. In the UK, a recent analysis of the impact female MPs have had in Westminster since 1945 found that women are more likely to speak about women’s issues, as well as family policy, education and care. An analysis3 of the impact of female representation across nineteen OECD countries4 between 1960 and 2005 also found that female politicians are more likely to address issues that affect women.
The OECD study also found that women’s words translated into action. As female political representation increased in Greece, Portugal and Switzerland, these countries experienced an increase in educational investment. Conversely, as the proportion of female legislators in Ireland, Italy and Norway decreased in the late 1990s, those countries experienced ‘a comparable drop in educational expenditures as a percentage of GDP’. As little as a single percentage point rise in female legislators was found to increase the ratio of educational expenditure. Similarly, a 2004 Indian study of local councils in West Bengal and Rajasthan found that reserving one- third of the seats for women increased investment in infrastructure related to women’s needs. A 2007 paper looking at female repre- sentation in India between 1967 and 2001 also found that a 10% increase in female political representation resulted in a 6% increase in ‘the probability that an individual attains primary education in an urban area’.
And yes yes yes not all women are mothers (I’m not, for example) but a lot of them are, so perhaps their interests should be represented in the place that makes the laws?
Handily the UK parliament just sent Stella an email showing exactly why her work is needed