‘Warm words’ not enough to achieve 50/50 representation of AMs
Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Women and Equalities, Sian Gwenllian AM has today set out the case for the National Assembly for Wales to legislate in order to ensure 50/50 gender representation among AMs.
Sian Gwenllian AM’s comments come ahead of her Assembly debate today (Wednesday) where she will discuss issues ranging from the gender pay gap to equal representation to domestic abuse.
The Plaid Cymru AM for Arfon said that on the centenary of women being given the right to vote, “the time for warm words is over” and said that gender quotas have been successful in many parts of the world.
Sian Gwenllian AM said:
“This year marks a hundred years since women were granted the vote – a good time to take stock of what has been achieved in the struggle for equality.
“While it’s important to celebrate the suffragettes’ victory, we must recognise that there is a long way to go in tackling the gender pay gap and inequality of representation.
“The gender pay gap across Wales is around 15% rising to 25% in some areas. 28% of Welsh councillors are women, 28% of MPs and 40% of AMs – lower than 2003.
“The figures show that the time for warm words is over – we need robust action to tackle this inequality. That is why I want to see the Assembly legislate to bring in a 50/50 gender quota for AMs.
“There is a need for a huge culture shift but this won’t happen overnight. That is why we need to be taking steps now and start as we mean to go on in the next phase of the fight for equality.
“I urge those who believe in true equality whatever their gender or political beliefs to unite in this call and be inspired to act by the achievements of the brave women we’re honouring this year.”