New Bill aims to ‘level the political playing field’ for women, say campaigners

Monday March 11th, 2024

Campaigners have welcomed a new Bill that aims to increase the number of women elected to the Senedd. The Senedd Cymru (Electoral Candidate Lists) Bill will see placement mandates put on candidate lists for future Senedd elections, meaning that half of the candidates on party lists must be women and at least half of the lists must be topped by women. The Diverse5050 campaign, consisting of WEN Wales, Electoral Reform Society Cymru, Race Council Cymru, and the Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team (EYST) Wales, has heralded the Bill as key in ensuring more women get elected.

The Senedd hit headlines back in 2003 when it became the first legislature in the world to hit gender parity, with half of seats won by women. The current makeup of the Senedd is lower in terms of women’s representation, with women holding 43% of seats.

The Bill has been introduced by Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip Jane Hutt. It comes a few months after the introduction of a bill to reform the Senedd’s capacity and electoral system.


Speaking on behalf of the Diverse5050 campaign, Campaign Manager Evelyn James said:

“Gender equality should be a basic requirement of Welsh democracy. It is only right that our political institutions properly reflect our communities. This legislation is imperative to help level the playing field and lower some of the barriers that have meant men dominate our political systems.

“There is a real need for women’s perspectives and experiences to be reflected in the laws that govern us all, and for women of all protected characteristics and marginalised communities to be represented fairly. The Diverse5050 campaign calls for wider diversity measures alongside this legislation, as it is vital that a diverse range of women’s voices are properly heard in Cardiff Bay.

“We must see the Senedd pass this legislation, which would mark an important step forward in Wales leading the way when it comes to gender equality. Since hitting the headlines back in 2003 for being the first legislature to reach equal representation, the Senedd has slipped back.

“This is an opportunity for Wales to lead the way in the UK again when it comes to our democracy.”