No Right Turn celebrates Women’s Sufferage
Up until 1981, you could generally count the number of women in the New Zealand Parliament at any one time on the fingers of one hand. Things began to change in the 80’s, with women’s representation rising to 10% of the House, and then 20% in 1993. MMP almost doubled that, and while the proportion of female MPs slipped in 2002 (thanks to NZ First and United Future), it has generally stayed above 30%. This is not a change that would have happened under FPP – the data on electorate MPs shows that. MMP has meant a significant advance for women’s representation, with a consequent flow-on effect on policy. We have MMP to thank for paid parental leave, flexible working hours, the families and children’s commissioners, and the anti-smacking law. And these are policies the suffragettes would have been proud of.
Um, sorry. What I see in that graph is this.
Pre the 1980s, clearly there was an upward trend for many years followed by some stagnation. But after 1978, numbers of women MPs shot up from 5% to 22%.
After the first MMP election however, something strange happened. The improvement has been much slower. Slower than the pre-MMP, and vastly slower than the 80’s and early 90’s trend. So things are getting better, but slowly – that’s point 1.
Now, think about this. Those big gains were made when all MPs were electorate MPs. What does I/S say? “This is not a change that would have happened under FPP – the data on electorate MPs shows that.” So under MMP Idiot himself acknowledges that electorates have not been won by women in the upward trend we saw before MMP.
There’s another, very obvious conclusion that can be taken from exactly the same data. MMP has meant that parties don’t need to take seriously the idea of equality anymore. Why bother to get a wide range of candidates in seats when you can just promote them in the list? That to me is a should be listed as a negative.
So is MMP really better for women’s representation in parliament? I see a reduction in the rate of increase that could hardly be more clear, plus a change in behaviour in that women are pushed from electorates into the list.
Is that really progress?
Have you considered doing the numbers based on electorates?
If women MPs are disproportionately list MPs, then MMP would appear to have helped. If women are now doing well as electorate MPs your conclusion would have greater support.
Yes I have. I decided not to 😉
Ok, I might later. You’re right – it could be interesting.
Also, the trend line for FPP should connect with the last FPP election, not the first MMP one.
Yes, I saw that early on. I guess my point is that that after that first one the improvements are only slight. One could argue given that that the first was more a continuation of what was happening under FPP and/or a factor in the transition rather than MMP itself.
also, the long term trend line would be a bit flatter if you went back to, say, 1867 and no doubt steeper had the number of MPs not increased.
MMP has had a greater increase in numbers of Maori MPs than women MPs . That graph would be easy to do… you may also want to look at women representation in other countries before you imply that PR is bad for women’s suffrage.
i really meant MMP had a greater “bearing” in numbers of Maori MPs… but still.
The biggest increase of all was between 1993 and 1996. That’s part of the MMP increase, because 1996 was an MMP election, not an FPP election.
Of course we would expect the rate of increase to slow. If the rate of increase had stayed the same, we would expect the entire house to be composed of women by now. It’s basic maths.
“The biggest increase of all was between 1993 and 1996. That’s part of the MMP increase, because 1996 was an MMP election, not an FPP election.”
Technically yes. But the real question is, would that have happened under FPP? Can we put hand on heart and say that the proportion of women in our parliament today would not have happened if he had not had MMP?
I doubt it.
I think anyone looking for justification for retaining MMP isn’t going to find it in this data.
…unless you actually run the numbers. Fit a trend between the bottom of the 80s trough to the last FPP election, extrapolate to the first MMP election. Is the real result more than the extrapolated one?
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