Voting for A New Britain: Assemblies May Have World's Highest Proportio N of Women Analysis
Abrams, Fran, The Independent (London, England)
SCOTLAND AND Wales could be represented by more women than in any other parliament in the world, analysts are predicting.
About 45 per cent of assembly members in Wales are expected to be female, and the proportion could be even higher if the vote for Labour, which achieved a 50-50 balance between its candidates, holds up.
In Scotland, half the candidates for both Labour and the Scottish National Party are women, though smaller proportions in the Liberal Democrat and Conservative camps could bring down the final figure to about 42 per cent. By comparison, just 18 per cent of MPs at Westminster are women and 43.6 per cent in Sweden, which has the highest proportion in Europe and probably the world. Among the high-profile women who will gain seats in the new Scottish Parliament will be Labour's Wendy Alexander, tipped to be finance minister, the Scottish Conservative deputy leader, Annabel Goldie, and the SNP's "Madame Ecosse", Winnie Ewing, as well as the younger and equally glamorous Nicola Sturgeon. In Wales, the former Merseyside assistant chief constable, Alison Halford, is standing for Labour, which is also fielding Cherry Short, a social worker who could become the only black woman in either of the two new assemblies. Labour achieved its high proportion of women through a controversial "twinning" ar-rangement under which one in each pair of seats had to be contested by a woman. The Liberal Democrats debated "zipping" - alternating between men and women on party lists - but rejected the measure, ending with three women among 18 Scottish seats but with three out of six in Wales, on the basis of the recent polls. …