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Trade unionists welcome proposed Bill to increase the numbers of women in the Senedd

TRADE unionists in Wales welcomed a proposed Bill to increase the numbers of women in the Senedd as it launched its women’s activist development programme today.

The draft Senedd Cymru (Electoral Candidate Lists) Bill sets out proposals to improve gender balance in the Senedd to increase the proportion of women standing as candidates in future elections.

If it becomes law, political parties putting forward more than one candidate in a constituency at a Senedd election will need to ensure women make up at least half of the list and place women at the top of at least half of their constituency candidate lists.

Wales TUC general secretary Shavanah Taj said: “We welcome the publication of the Bill and share the Welsh government’s ambition for a more diverse Senedd.

“We are proud that trade union activists have gone on to take up leading roles in politics and other aspects of civil society.”

The Bill delivers on recommendations made by the committee on Senedd reform, endorsed by a majority of Senedd members in June 2022 and reflects the co-operation agreement between the Welsh government and Plaid Cymru.

Wales was the first country in the world to achieve equal representation of men and women in what was then the National Assembly in 2003, but since then the proportion of women has fallen.

In the 2021 Senedd election, less than a third of the 470 candidates put forward by political parties in Wales were women and of the 60 seats in the Senedd, 26 are held by women.

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said: “Twenty years ago Wales made history when 50 per cent of members elected to the then National Assembly were women.

“This Bill aims to achieve a gender-balanced Senedd. Having a Senedd which better reflects the make-up of Wales is good for politics, good for representation and good for policy-making.”

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “The reforms being put forward are a leap forward in strengthening democracy in Wales so that the Senedd reflects our modern nation.”

Today’s Wales TUC event marked International Women’s Day by celebrating female trade unionists’ achievements and launching its women activist development programme in Wales.


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