There’s been much debate on this. There’s several points I’d like to make on it.
Parliament needs to be seen as a decent workplace for women (and men).
Personal attacks and abuse and unfounded accusations aim at damaging characters, careers, parties and Government are far too common and prominent. More women (and men) will be attracted to putting themselves if politics was a decent respectful workplace. Robust debate is essential, but it needs to be reasonable and reasoned debate.
Labour’s policy process has been shown up on this issue.
The female quota and “man ban” proposals emerged from Labour’s conference last November (I heard about the quote proposal then). It has just been presented to membership, and is scheduled to be debated and decided on at the next conference this November. For relatively minor changes to candidate selection procedures this is a long time to deal with it. In the modern communication age surely this type of policy should be dealt with far more efficiently and quickly.
Target ranges with some flexibility are better than fixed quotas.
A quota setting a minimum percentage of one gender is unbalanced and inflexible. Almost everyone would like to see a better balance of gender in Parliament. As mentioned above creating a more attractive workplace should be a major aim. After that I suggest a target range of 40-60%. That allows for variations in quality and quantity of one gender or another in a given election.
And allowances would have to be made when there are very low numbers of MPs, having some range flexibility is especially important for smaller parties (and uneven numbers). Take the current NZ First caucus of seven – four men and three women (43%). Or the Maori Party – two men and one woman (33%).