Preet Gill, Diane Abbott and Sophie Walker
Preet Gill, Diane Abbott and Sophie Walker

POLITICS

Was the election good for women?

A record number of women MPs has been voted into parliament, but with no gains for WEP, and men’s rights activist Philip Davies holding his seat, how successful was it really?

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By Emily Baker on

On the surface, yesterday’s election seems like it went quite well for women. We’ve never had this many women MPs in parliament and Diane Abbott silenced last week’s unprecedented media trolling with an incredible majority increase. But, with a possible Tory/DUP coalition and no real traction for the Women’s Equality Party, questions are beginning to be raised. Was the election as much of a success for women as it seems?

YES

Diane Abbott didn’t just hold on to her seat last night – she increased her majority by 11,000. Despite shouldering a barrage of racist and sexist abuse over the election campaign, Abbott received 75 per cent of the Hackney North and Stoke Newington vote. In a system where female MPs could be scared to participate because of the abuse they face, that is surely a result for women.

YES

We now have a record number of women in parliament, with the number of seats held by women standing at 207, 16 more than the 2015 election. Among them is Preet Gill, the UK’s first female Sikh MP. Standing in Birmingham Edgbaston, Gill took over the Labour seat, previously held by Gisela Stuart, with a majority of 6,917.

NO

This was the Women’s Equality Party’s first general election, with seven candidates standing across the country. Party leader Sophie Walker won 1.9 per cent of the vote in her Shipley constituency. Walker stood against men’s rights activist and Tory MP Philip Davies, who has held on to his seat despite active opposition from all corners. Women were the biggest threat to Davies’s sexist agenda and, on this front, we failed.

Philip Davies and Sophie Walker
 

NO

Away from the results, the election coverage was crowded with men. Yes, Laura Kuenssberg provided analysis from behind a laptop and, yes, Gina Miller brilliantly argued her way through a Channel 4 panel. But it was Dimbleby and Paxman at the helm, with women once again holding the supportive roles.

NO

Theresa May has sought permission for a Conservative and DUP coalition. Despite being led by a woman, the DUP are notoriously anti-abortion, anti-LGBT and have a history of climate-change denial. As the fifth-largest party with just 10 seats, the DUP’s most controversial policies are unlikely to see the light of day, but the legitimisation of these ideologies may well be harmful enough.

Leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster
 

NO

Brenda from Bristol might have to undergo another election, should Theresa May’s bid for a minority government fail.

@emilyrbakes

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Preet Gill, Diane Abbott and Sophie Walker
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General election 2017

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