PRESS RELEASE: WEN Wales welcomes historic commitment to statutory gender quotas in Special Purpose Committee Report

Monday May 30th, 2022

WEN Wales welcomes the publication of the report of the Senedd’s Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform and is delighted to see recommendations in the report that WEN and the Diverse 5050 campaign have been campaigning for, such as legally binding gender quotas and measures to improve diversity. As well as the recommendation for integrated statutory gender quotas[1], we are pleased to see recommendations around a legal obligation for collection and publication of anonymised candidate diversity data so we can measure progress meaningfully in this area,[2] elections based on job share[3] and job sharing of Committee roles.


Evelyn James, Diverse 5050 Campaign Manager commented:


“This is a historic moment as Wales can now be the first country in the UK to legislate for gender quotas and follow the lead of 100 other countries around the world. We are delighted by the report as it reflects many of the recommendations made by our coalition of supporters signed up to the Diverse5050 campaign.


Integrated legally binding gender quotas are needed as voluntary measures to reach gender balance have failed. Research shows that quotas are the single most effective tool for ‘fast tracking’ women’s representation in elected bodies and our legal opinion shows that they are in competence. Our politics must reflect diverse voices in society and if these recommendations on gender and diversity are taken up wholesale, this will help make that happen.

WEN Wales also welcomes Recommendations 15 and 16 on diversity which ask for further work to take place ‘examining the merits and implications of legislative diversity quotas for characteristics other than gender….  at an appropriate time in the future’.[4] We consider the most appropriate time for this work to take place is now. It is urgent work given the lack of diversity in the current Senedd.


Read our briefing ahead of the Senedd debate on the report, due to take place on 8th June.

[1] Recommendation 11: We recommend that the Senedd should be elected with integrated statutory gender quotas

[2] Recommendation 12: We recommend that a legislative requirement is placed upon a devolved Welsh Authority to collect and prominently publish anonymised candidate diversity data

[3] Recommendation 13: We recommend that further consideration should be given, on a cross-party basis, to exploring the feasibility and legislative challenges associated with enabling election on the basis of job sharing

[4] Recommendation 15. We recommend that a relevant committee considers how further work can best be undertaken on examining the merits and implications of legislative diversity quotas for characteristics other than gender. We anticipate that this consideration will inform decisions on whether such quotas may, in time, provide effective mechanisms for encouraging the election of a more diverse Senedd, at an appropriate time in the future.