Women candidates face uphill election fight


If you are a man, you are more than twice as likely as a woman to be running as a Liberal-Nationals candidate in a winnable seat at the May 21 election.

On the other side of politics, a third of men are genuine candidates to win or hold a seat for Labor, and a quarter are women.

The findings, contained in an analysis by the Australian National University, show 20 per cent of LNP women are challenging for winnable seats compared with 46 per cent of men.

It is not much better in the Labor camp, with just 24 per cent of their female candidates running in seats viewed as winnable, compared with 33 per cent of male candidates.

Overall, 29 per cent of Coalition candidates and 43 per cent of Labor candidates are women.

The analysis shows 80 per cent of the Coalition’s female candidates are running in seats they are unlikely to win or retain, compared with just 54 per cent among men.

For Labor, 76 per cent of their female candidates are unlikely to win or hold their seats, compared with 67 per cent of men.

Global Institute for Women’s Leadership director Michelle Ryan said running women in seats they were unlikely to win was a big loss for democracy and for Australia.

“Increasing the number of female candidates put forward at each election is important in ensuring our parliament represents the diversity of the community,” she said.

“What is equally important is making sure that these female candidates are running in seats they can reasonably be expected to win.”

Of sitting MPs, just 41 per cent of Labor’s are women, while the figure is even worse in the Coalition at just 20 per cent.

Professor Ryan pointed to her ‘glass cliff’ concept, referring to women being appointed to leadership roles in times of crisis or when their position is unstable.

“While political parties are publicising their efforts to increase the number of women candidates they put forward, we need to look at whether these candidates are simply stepping into seats that males aren’t interested in,” she said.

“On this analysis, it would seem that, sadly, diversity isn’t the driving motivation.”


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