PRESS RELEASE: WEN Wales welcomes diversity recommendations in ‘Senedd Reform Next Steps’ report
A new report on Senedd reform recommends that increasing the size of the Senedd should go hand in hand with increasing its diversity. WEN Wales welcomes the recommendations around diversity made by the Committee on Senedd Reform and calls on political parties to adopt the recommendations in full. We particularly welcome:
- The expressed desire for a gender balanced Senedd
- The access to elected office fund providing financial support for disabled people who want to stand for election
- Financial support for candidates with caring responsibilities
- Collection and publication of diversity data of candidates by political parties
- Publication of diversity action plans by political parties
- Further cross-party work on job sharing
The Senedd should request the powers to enact legislative quotas from the UK Government as soon as possible and without delay to allow the Sixth Senedd to implement gender and diversity quotas. Gender and diversity quotas would enable the radical change needed to ensure our Senedd reflects the population it serves.
Catherine Fookes Director of WEN Wales said:
‘We welcome the report’s recommendations on diversity, and we challenge all political parties to make a public statement committing to these positive moves to show they support real diversity in politics. There is no excuse for any political party to reject these recommendations.’
Rocio Cifuentes Chief Executive of EYST said:
“We welcome this report from the Electoral Reform Committee and urge the Welsh Parliament and political parties to take up its recommendations. In twenty years, since Welsh devolution, there have been very few Assembly members Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, with no representation from Black, Asian or Muslim women to date. This surely needs to change and our political leadership must more accurately represent the diverse people of Wales. EYST’s Mentoring Project has worked with over 75 aspiring leaders who represent a wealth of talent which needs to be utilised.”
Patience Bentu from Race Council Cymru said:
“Race Council Cymru stands with WENWales and supports the recommendations of the ‘Senedd Reform Next Steps’ report on diversity and calls on all political parties to publish their diversity policies for the purpose of transparency and accountability. Most importantly, we urge them to commit to the implementation of all recommendations to ensure that Wales promotes a diverse and level playing ground for all, irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, or religious belief.”
We also have concerns that there is no Access to Elected Office Fund for the 2021 Senedd elections and that the support is limited to supporting disabled people to stand in elections. It should be extended to other groups facing financial barriers, such as BAME women, women from low income households.
To further our aims, and ensure we get political reform, the Women’s Equality Network Wales (WEN Wales) are launching a #Diverse5050 campaign alongside Electoral Reform Society Cymru, Race Council Cymru, and EYST Wales (Ethnic Youth Support Team). The campaign has the support of 17 organisations (approx. 17k members) and is calling for political parties to:
- Publish party diversity plans
- Commit to collecting and publishing data on the diversity of their candidates and eventual elected representatives in the 2021 Senedd elections and 2022 Local Government elections
- Make manifesto commitments for 50:50 gender balance alongside increasing diversity of representation of LGBT+ people, people of colour and disabled people in the Senedd through positive action to ensure that the Senedd is reflective of the population it serves
Diverse5050 campaign partners:
- WEN Wales (Women’s Equality Network)
- ERS Cymru (Electoral Reform Society)
- EYST Wales (Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team Wales)
- Race Council Cymru
Diverse5050 campaign supporters:
- Action for Children
- Chwarae Teg
- Co-production Network for Wales
- Cynon Taf Community Housing Group
- Diverse Cymru
- Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales
- Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA)
- National Federation of Women’s Institutes (the WI)
- Oxfam Cymru
- Race Alliance Wales
- Social Firms Wales
- Welsh Women’s Aid
Diverse5050 campaign letter to Welsh party leaders.
WEN Wales submitted evidence to the Committee.
WEN Wales briefing on effectiveness and impact on quotas.