Claims by the Prime Minister that her latest reshuffle aimed to make the government look ‘more like the country it serves’ have been a ‘moderate success’, according to a leading thinktank.
The Institute for Government, which publishes an annual report into the Government, said nearly a third of all ministers are now women, with only one department (the Ministry of Defence) without a female minister.
This contrasts against the reshuffle after the 2017 election, where just a quarter of ministers were women, with five departments without any women at all. However, the group still found there was more work to be done.
Still More Work To Done
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Researchers also found the percentage of the women within the cabinet rose from 28.6 percent to 34.5 percent, although this was mostly because more women were now allowed to attend, rather than being full members.
Progress was also slow in other areas. The number of female special advisors dropped from a third to a quarter between December 2016 and December 2017, with eight departments having no female special advisors at all.
In the civil service, women have made up more than half of the workforce since 2001, however, they still remain underrepresented at the top levels. The proportion of female senior civil servants has risen to 41 percent, the highest ever, but just five departments are led by women. The nine permanent secretaries in Northern Ireland are all men, and there has never female cabinet secretary for the UK.
Gender Diversity Benefits Us All
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Increasing gender diversity in both our Parliament and wider society has benefits for us all. If the Government is to properly represent us all, it needs to be made up with people from all different walks of life. Making sure there are more women is just one part of this.
This Government is about building a country fit for the future – one that truly works for everyone. This reshuffle helps us do just that by bringing fresh talent into Government, boosting delivery in key policy areas like housing, health, and social care, and ensuring the Government looks more like the country it serves.
Theresa May MP
More widely, lots of studies and surveys have also shown that more gender diversity is better for business, with some estimates suggesting that the increase in returns could be as high as 47 percent. Similarly, research by the Women and Work Commission suggesting that raising female employment levels to the same as men’s could increase our Gross Domestic Product (‘GDP’) by 10% by 2030.
We’re making tracks in the right direction, but it’s crucial that both the Government and businesses continue to push for better representation – it’s something which will have a positive effect for every one of us.