Election Special: Gender Balance


In twenty-nineteen, gender equality remains an issue in many lines of work. In Politics, the imbalance is no different.

Tim Lofthouse reports.

TRANSCRIPT

It’s no secret Australian politics has a gender equality problem.

Currently, women make up less than one-third of all politicians, and one-fifth of all ministers.

Dr. Mary Crawford, Former Politician: “I think it’s worth remembering that that sort of entrenched sexism has been around for a very long time.”

Political parties are male dominated, so it’s been harder for females to win pre-selection.

The same barrier applies to them rising to ministerial ranks.

There’s another deterrence to women who might consider entering politics.

When a powerful and talented Minister is brushed aside for a leadership role.

Foreign Affairs minister, Julie Bishop was overwhelmingly the popular choice to replace Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister.

But she was abruptly ousted in the first round of voting by Liberal politicians in last year’s leadership spill.

Dr. Mary Crawford, Former Politician: “She was you know, the most popular political, she was talented, she was hard working in her party, and yet people chose a man over her.”

Labor has preselected female candidates in forty-four per cent of winnable seats.

While the Coalition is lagging behind at twenty-seven per cent.

But what do voters think?

Vox 1: “If the New Zealand Prime Minister is anything to go by I think, like, a lot of people may be more inclined to vote for a female.”

Vox 2: “It should be who’s best for the criteria and if it’s 70% women, 30% men, so be it.”

Vox 3: “It’s important to have a women’s perspective, because there actually are more women on the planet than men.”

Vox 4: “At the end of the day, it’s not about who you are, or what you are, it’s about what you do.”

Even so, pre-polling results suggest Australia remains relatively divided over this issue.

Dr Crawford says it’s time for a change in our attitude towards women in parliament.

Dr. Mary Crawford, Former Politician: “We need a parliament that looks like us, if women are 54% of the voters then we should have people in there who represent us and perhaps also in that diversity issue need all kinds of different people.”

Both major parties have said that they will achieve equal gender representation by 2025.

Time will tell who reaches that target first.

Tim Lofthouse, QUT News.