Westminster To Display More Artwork Of Women. Still Can’t Tell Us Where All The Female MPs Are Though

Portcullis House will display 92 paintings of influential women from today. That's 92 out of 8,500 in the Parliamentary Art Collection. Oh...


by Debrief Staff |
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To counteract its 'old boy image', Westminster will show more paintings of influential women - displaying 92 examples in Portcullis House today. Which is obviously really nice, but there are 8,500 pieces in the Parliamentary Art Collection overall - so that's not anywhere near even. And it's not exactly going to smash the gender imbalance throughout Parliament - but at least they're trying. 92 out of 8500 is trying, right?

To be fair, this inblanace does a pretty good job of representing the actual make up of Parliament, where only 23% of MPs are female. 'These works of art can respond to the criticism that does exist - because we have to be open about criticism - that actually the collection is very heavily male-dominated and it creates an image that is of men,' Caroline Nokes MP, and member of the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, told The Telegraph.

'I’m very conscious that it remains a heavily male-dominated environment and we have to address that. Too often this is seen as a boys’ club isn’t it? Let’s be alive to that criticism and use it as an opportunity to say, here are [the women].'

She also added that the timing is spot-on, considering the fact that more and more young women will be interested in politics ahead of the general election - and that this is a step in the right direction if we want to challenge Parliament's male-oriented image. Due to the fact that they're pretty much all male. 'I think it remains a challenge,' she said. 'We make a real effort to make it less of a boys’ club. Women members have changed this place and made it less adversarial. We’re broadly speaking a lot more tolerant.'

'Particularly for young women, the image you see day in day out of Parliament is PMQs. And that’s not representative of what this place does. Unfortunately it’s the bit you also see on television and I think it does put people off.'

Damn straight. At least now, when people go to admire the figures who have helped shaped Britain, and indeed the world, via politics - they won't just be greeted by loads of men. Because if we're going to change and, y'know, not be ranked 65th in global tables measuring the representation of women in politics then we suppose every little victory matters.

Let's try and get more influential paintings of women on that wall, and influential actual women in parliament until it's 50% female faces all round, yeah?

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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