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Delusions of Democracy: where are the women?
Democracy is supposed to recognise us all as political equals, says world renowned feminist scholar Professor Anne Phillips. But in an exclusive interview with BroadAgenda, Prof Phillips questions the validity of any democracy that "seems incapable of delivering a system in which men and women alike are equally engaged in making the political decisions that affect our lives."
Can we really make claim to 'democracy' when so few women occupy parliamentary seats, and remain a rarity in Cabinet? When political power remains so heavily in the control of men, along with political leadership, are we kidding ourselves when we speak of our 'democratic nation'?
And what difference do women make to policy outcomes anyway? These are just some of the questions BroadAgenda Chief Editor, Virginia Haussegger discussed with Prof Phillips, in part 3 of our Phillips interview series.
We were delighted to have the opportunity to sit down with Prof Phillips, from the London School of Economics, when she recently visited the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA).
You can watch the full interview (25 mins) by clicking here. Or catch our 5-6 minute 3 part series here on BroadAgenda's past 3 blogs.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has 5 women in his Cabinet, which means women comprise 24% of Cabinet positions.
Australian (non-indigenous) women won the vote in 1902. But it wasn't until 1943 that women finally won election to Parliament. In that year two women proudly stepped over the threshold. Enid Lyons became the Member for Darwin (in Tasmania) in the House of Representatives, and Dorothy Tangney was elected to represent Western Australia in the Senate. Until the mid 1990's there was never more than 1 woman in Cabinet at a time.
According to the World Economic Forum, Australia ranks 48th in the world for women's political empowerment. Around the globe only 22% of parliamentarians are women.