Increasing the number of women MPs

There has been discussion recently on gender quotes for MPs.

A survey has shown that most women don’t want legal quotas, and 45% of women think that either nothing needs to be done or we don’t need more female MPs.

From The Nation – Lisa Owen interviews Jackie Blue, Jan Logie, and Rachel Petero

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue has called on all political leaders to commit to a 50% quota of women in cabinet

She’s also called for New Zealand to follow Australia and the UK and require all larger companies (employing more than 250 people) to publish details of their gender pay gap, with fines for those who don’t comply.


It some ways it would be good if MPs represented the electorate in approximately proportionate numbers – but that is if there are sufficient numbers of female candidates who are about as good as male candidates.

And it depends on what voters want.

A survey after the 2014 election showed that:

  • 5.2% of women want legal MP quotas
  • 11.6% of women want parties to voluntarily increase the number of women MPs
  • 28.6% of women want more women encouraged to participate in politics
  • 32.1% of women think that nothing needs to be done, numbers will increase naturally
  • 12.9% of women think that there is no need to increase the number of female MPs.

Danyl at Dim-Post: Gender quotas again

  • On the other hand, political gender quotas are really not very popular with either men or women. The NZES asked about them after the last election.


And regardless of what number of females candidates stand it comes down to what voters choose – and about half of voters are women.

There’s a lot of comments on this at Dim-Post, and Kiwiblog has a new post on this: Women don’t want quotas

I think that two related things are necessary to even the gender balance – encourage more women to get involved in politics and stand as candidates, and substantially improve the nature of our politics and the behaviour of parties and MPs.

I’m not surprised it is difficult to attract more women to the dirty muckraking attack style politics that is currently prevalent.

Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  8th November 2016

    There is no argument for gender quotas that cannot be made for any other division, race, age, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, occupation, location, .., you name it.

    Face the reality that equal opportunity rather than outcome is what matters.

  2. PDB

     /  8th November 2016

    Funny how we never see people pushing really hard for gender balance in things like teachers in this country………

  3. Yes PDB, it is curious, but not funny in my view. The dominance of a certain type of “feminists” in the schooling system has done a great deal of harm to the gender balance in New Zealand, where you aren’t encouraged to win any more and Math and Science teaching is dumbed down.

    • PDB

       /  8th November 2016

      Not too sure how out of date this info is;

      *Of the 15,000 early childhood teachers, only 167 are male.
      *Latest Ministry of Education figures show just one in five teachers is male, compared with 42 per cent in 1956. Some primary schools are now staffed entirely by women.
      *Secondary schools have been the last bastions of men in the classroom, but now even their numbers are starting to dwindle. In the past two years the number of male secondary school teaching graduates dropped by about 8 per cent.

      Regardless, this should be of far greater concern then having a few more woman MP’s. The fact that the gender balance is reversed means it isn’t seen as important.

      Main reasons given for lack of male teachers;

      *Low pay.
      *Chance of being accused of being a ‘sexual predator’ & having to work in such a way as to minimise such accusations.
      * The ‘catch-22’ of not wanting to work in an industry with such a low level of other males in it.
      *The changes to the teaching system that has drifted away from core values & is far more ‘PC’.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  8th November 2016

        I find it terribly patronising when girls are ‘encouraged’ to take maths, science and such things. If they don’t want to, they don’t want to. The fact that my grandmother was a university lecturer in applied science, maths and engineering didn’t make me any less of a dunce at maths, nor did my mother writing maths textbooks make me find it more interesting.

  4. Kitty Catkin

     /  8th November 2016

    When my mother was teaching, they had what they called the three foot rule-never be closer to a pupil than three feet if you happen to be alone with them-even then, the danger of being accused of something was there and well known. They were also told that they were never to keep one child in-find someone else doing something and keep them in as well. I suppose that if the entire class was angelic (ha ha) the offender would kindly be let off.

    We did have a pervert-Mr T——– never went further than putting his arm around chosen girls (I wasn’t pretty enough, thank goodness, or maybe it was because my mother was a teacher and he’d have known this) in a way that was uncomfortable for them, and making remarks that were at first nothing that would sound much if repeated. He then began saying some that were quite gross and was suddenly seen no more. He ended up ‘inside’, and he deserved to. He was also quite sadistic

    A headmaster whom my mother knew was accused by an ungrateful little madame of groping her when he jumped into a pool to save the little beast from drowning ! He probably wished that he’d let her drown. He was, of course, acquitted, but left teaching in disgust, as did the man I knew who was accused of a ridiculous act and was also acquitted. Who needs that ? A friend was on the jury when a male teacher was accused of something that couldn’t possibly have happened….

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  8th November 2016

    What happens when the Peter Principle interacts with the need to achieve gender quotas:


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