Parties close – but not on gender

Analysis by Women on Boards shows that 45.3 per cent of the candidates standing for election for the ALP are female, compared with 28.6 per cent for the Coalition. The Greens are the most gender balanced on 50 per cent with the Xenophon Party at 33.3 per cent.
With opinion polls showing the ALP and the Coalition neck-and-neck as we enter the final two weeks of polling, the outcome for the representation of women in political power is impacted significantly by which major party wins. 

If you extrapolate from the total number of female candidates, an ALP Government would have close to 40 per cent women in the House of Representatives while a Coalition Government would have 25 per cent. A 15 per cent difference was statistically significant and meant there would be fewer female voices at the nation’s top policy table in a Coalition Government.

Given we are 16 years into the 21st Century, all parties should really be paying attention to ensuring a gender balanced candidate pool of approximately 40 per cent men, 40 per cent women and 20 per cent of either (or trans) gender. It is no longer good enough to hide behind the now largely derided ‘merit argument’ or the often used ‘we can’t find any suitable women who want the job’ excuse.

The question that really needs to be asked is why women are either more attracted to standing for the ALP and the Greens than the Liberal or National Parties, or whether it’s because the process is more conducive to them feeling included and pre-selected. 

The analysis, which was conducted from desktop research of the candidates listed on each party’s website, also revealed the number of female candidates is higher in the Senate than the House of Representatives and that the Xenophon party is surprisingly low on female candidates given its home base is South Australia and the Senator publicly sponsored legislation to mandate 40:40:20 gender balance on boards.

Female Versus male candidates standing for major parties in the 2016 Federal Election

  ALP Coalition Greens Xenophon
Reps Male 57 103 55 6
Reps Female 42 38 50 3
Reps Total 99 141 105 9
Reps % Female 42.4% 27.0% 47.6% 33.3%
Senate Male 19 29 8 9
Senate Female 21 15 13 4
Senate Total 40 44 21 13
Senate % Female 52.5% 34.1% 61.9% 30.8%
Candidates Male 76 132 63 15
Candidates Female 63 53 63 7
Candidates Total 139 185 126 22
Candidates % Female 45.3% 28.6% 50.0% 31.8%

Disclaimer: This data was drawn from the websites of the parties on 21 June 2016. It was based on the candidate profiles and images. Any slight discrepancies will not impact significantly on the percentages.
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