Despite registering to vote and voting in equal numbers to men, women still only make up only one-third of MPs in the House of Commons and even fewer are standing Peers in House of Lords.

Two reports, published last week on the two Treasury financial services initiatives Investing (lending to) in Women and the Women in Finance Charter, show mixed results in terms of positive gender bias in the sector. Lending to new women entrepreneurs is up by business angels, even if women borrow less than their male counterparts. While lenders might now be better at approving loans to females, you are still unlikely to see a woman at the helm of a financial service company. A situation which is equally reflected in the Westminster parliament. 

The House of Commons Women and Equalities committee has just published its update to 'Equality in the heart of democracy', this is an ongoing topic which covers items from dealing with sexual misconduct to making parliament more family friendly.

In a time where business are being called to make positive efforts to tackle diversity and inclusion in their workplaces, both the House of Commons and House of Lords serve to illustrate that government is still practiced in a very dark age. 

The Green Party, the Labour Party, and the Liberal Democrats all have a majority of female MPs, the Conservatives have less than 25%, just 87 out of 365 MPs. Seemingly ignoring the obvious imbalance in their own party, the government admits to having zero plans for enacting section 106 of the Equality Act 2010 which provides that that political parties have to publish their diversity data in terms of their candidates.

The House of Commons has made steps to make Westminster more attractive as a workplace, and introduced proxy voting in some cases, debating is done in person which often excludes new mothers from the debating chamber. Creche facilities on-site are available for older babies and children, but, that childcare does not come free. A point not lost by the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Moog MP who seems to have found a cost-effective parenting solution. In evidence to the House of Common's Women & Equalities committee earlier this year he admits "to have have brought my children into Parliament on a number of occasions, and I have just parked conveniently and gotten out…"

Parking is free on the Westminster estate, so it transpires. Whilst a parent might probably have 'gotten' away with leaving larger children in a parked car back in the 1960's, such practice is unlikely to be endorsed by Social Services or children's rights organisations in 2022. 

Useful guides on this topic

Investing in Women attracts Angels
Significant steps have been made in increasing lending to women entrepreneurs in 2021

Women in Finance Charter: loss of momentum?
The percentage of females at the top of financial institutions has remained flat at just 33% in 2021 compared to 2020. 

External links

Equality in the heart of democracy: A gender sensitive House of Commons: responses to the Committee’s
fifth report of session 2021-22

House of Commons: Gender sensitive parliament evidence

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