Women Transform Welsh Politics

I've frequently written (e.g. here) about the importance of diversity in government and the relationship between inclusion and the centering of minority and/or marginalized issues. There's an interesting story at the BBC today that provides a brilliant real-life example of the effects of gender parity:
The almost equal gender balance [47% since May 2007] of AMs in the Welsh assembly has transformed how politics in Wales is conducted, according to a new report.

…The report quotes an anonymous male Labour AM who says: "It makes a difference to the culture in which group meetings are conducted, as I've said we have fierce disagreement in group meetings but it is conducted with the complete absence of chest thumping and table thumping."

The AMs interviewed as part of the research agreed that women had an impact on the type of policy issues that were debated. More emphasis was given to what one AM referred to as "non-traditional areas".

They said: "Domestic violence is on the agenda, equal pay is on the agenda and all those kinds of really important issues that probably wouldn't be there if there wasn't such a high number of women."

Researcher Charlotte Aull Davies from Swansea university said: "The culture, the way debates are conducted, the language used and the policies that are prioritised are linked, by almost all AMs, both to the gender balance of the assembly and to the fact that it is a new institution."
That list bit meaning, of course, that it's not such an entrenched boys' club that institutional misogyny can be disguised as "tradition."

Maybe I'm reading something that isn't really there, but it seems to me that the male assembly member quoted seems almost relived to be free from the obligation of beating his chest. If he were, I wouldn't blame him. I've been the only woman working on an entire floor of men in an advertising firm, and that shit is exhausting even to watch.

[H/T to Shaker chaos_monkey.]

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