Did you know?

According to the United Nations, women and men should participate equally in the decision-making processes of parliaments around the world.

In Australia, women make up just over half the population yet they have a minority say in how our country is run (currently women make up only 32 per cent of all federal parliamentarians – 74 females compared to 152 men).

Even though Australia was the second country in the world, after New Zealand, to give women the vote we are now 51st in the world in terms of female representation at the national level.  

The political system in Australia makes it extremely difficult to achieve equality for women, and although some political parties have policies aimed at increasing the number of women in politics, their policies do not ensure equal representation in parliament. 

There is research that has looked at why there is an under representation of women in Australian parliaments.  While there is no consensus as to why this is so, researchers have identified a number of factors that inhibit women's participation, including:

*  party candidate selection practices

*  nature of electoral system

*  challenges women face in balancing work and family responsibilities

*  discriminatory views about women in politics

*  adversarial nature of the parliament environment

Since Federation, over a century ago, women have only comprised around 11 per cent of the members who have served in the federal parliament.

Over the past two decades women's representation in all Australian parliaments has increased by less than 10 per cent.

Gender quotas of different kinds are widely used internationally to increase women's participation in national parliaments, but they have been somewhat controversial in the Australian context.

Hear our Voice (HOV) believes the only way to actually ensure equality for women is by changing the Australian Constitution – enshrining in our Constitution that men and women share equal representation in our federal parliament.  

If we leave things to chance equality may never happen.