It was not a good day for women in David Cameron’s party yesterday. He illustrated that he is in no way committed to any form of gender parity after the number of women in his cabinet rose by just two.
This is a particularly poor showing for Cameron as he has simply restored the number of women in his cabinet to the level it was three years ago at the end of 2011 when he had just five women on board.
What is particularly disappointing (but not very surprising) is that back in 2009 before Cameron was in power he had promised to ensure a third of his cabinet would be women by the end of his first parliament. So five years on has he kept to his pledge? The short answer is no. There are now 23 Tory female ministers – before today there were 20 – that represents just short of 24 per cent of Tory ministers in total.
Even if you add in those women who have the right to attend cabinet, that has only increased by three, from five to eight.
It’s pretty clear that this is all a rather woeful attempt to prepare for next year’s election to show the electorate he is serious about women. However, it’s such a marginal improvement that one could be forgiven for thinking it’s just window dressing; it’s not really a serious attempt to address gender disparity within government at all.