U.K. Election Sees Record Number of Women Elected to Parliament

(Bloomberg) -- The gender gap in the U.K. parliament is still closing even after a spate of female politicians quit this year saying they had been subject to abuse.

After Thursday’s election, a record 219 women will take up seats at Westminster, up from 208 at the last election in 2017 and 143 a decade ago, according to Randall’s Monitoring. Women will occupy more than a third of the House of Commons, compared with just one seat in 1918.

Women’s groups had expressed alarm before the election at the number of female MPs standing down because they had been the subject of abuse. Among them were Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan and Labour’s Louise Ellman.

There has also been concern that a poor work-life balance and lack of maternity pay is turning women away. At the start of this year, Labour MP Tulip Siddiq delayed the cesarean birth of her second child to ensure she could vote in a crucial Brexit debate.

Labour will now have more female than male MPs for the first time, but that’s down to its crushing defeat, which saw many men lose their seats. Women will occupy 104 out of Labour’s 203 seats.

The Conservative Party, which has produced Britain’s two female prime ministers, increased its tally of women MPs by 20 to 87. The majority of its 365 MPs are still men.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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