POLITICS
14/11/2013 11:00 GMT | Updated 14/11/2013 11:58 GMT

Almost 40% Of Men Think There Are Enough Women MPs, And Some Women Agree

Tim Ireland/PA Archive
Most of the Labour Party's female MPs, including Harriet Harman (centre) gather on the steps to New Palace Yard outside the Member's Entrance to the House of Commons before they enter as the House sits for the first time since the General Election.

Almost 40% of men think there are enough women in parliament, despite the fact only 22% of MPs are female.

There are 650 MPs but only 147 are women - just 22%. According to the inter-parliamentary union Britain is ranked joint 58th with Israel in the global league table of women’s representation.

A survey conducted for Parliament Week and published today found that 37% of men felt that there were enough women in parliament. And 13% of women agreed.

Labour's shadow women and equalities minister said: "We might have made progress in the last 20 years, but when less than a quarter of MPs are women compared to more than half the UK population, there’s still clearly a long way to go to make Parliament representative of the country it serves.

"I’m sure if the respondents to this poll knew we had proportionally fewer women in the Commons than Iraq, Afghanistan and 62 other countries, they might think again.”

David Cameron has also been criticised for not appointing enough women to senior government posts. At present only four members of the cabinet are female: home secretary Theresa May, culture secretary Maria Miller, Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers and development secretary Justine Greening.

However the prime minister has said he wants to see more women in ministerial positions. Several of his recent reshuffle appointments are believed to have been made with a view to promoting women to the cabinet in time for the 2015 election.

A Government spokesperson said: "Equal voting rights for women were just the start - we have come a long way since then. Today there are 147 women MPs – just over 22% of the total, compared to just 9% in 1992. However, this poll also reveals that both men and women are united in wanting to see a more gender diverse Parliament and we recognise there is still a long way to go.

"Following the cross-party 2010 Speaker’s Conference report on improving diversity in politics, Government is committed to working in partnership with the parties and Parliament to ensure women’s voices become even more prominent in public life."

Emily Unell, the manager of Parliament Week said: "This year there’s a special focus on the role of women in parliament and democracy and the survey highlights that more needs to be done to engage women in the nation’s politics."