The BBC reported this week on Plaid leader Leanne Wood’s latest idea – that legislation may be necessary to ensure more women are elected to the Assembly.
Of course she has no real idea of what form that legislation may take – in typical Plaid style it should just happen, the details can be left to someone else.
Her remarks follow on from a call from the Assembly’s Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler for more women to be elected after the percentage of female AMs fell to 44% after the last election, that s 26 out of 60. (Quite why she has waited until now to point this out is anyone’s guess the election was after all in May 2011.)
Ms Wood said
"Within Plaid Cymru, we have a strong internal democracy which reflects how much we rely on the party membership as a grassroots body.
"The side effect of this is that measures to promote women are not always at their strongest, but must be balanced out with local party control.”
Rather a strange statement really considering that it was only this month after a special conference that Plaid changed their constitution to allow for a one member one vote system.
Personally I think the whole idea is ridiculos. Not the idea that there should be more women in the Assembly or at any other level of Government, nothing wrong with that. But the idea that there needs to be any form of positive discrimination, let alone legislation, to achieve that.
The Assembly in 2006 had 31 women and 29 men, this followed a by election afer the death of Peter Law. Prior to that it was perfectly gender balanced. Two out of the four current Party leaders are women – who were elected by an open process on merit not because of any boost given them because they were women. The Presiding Officer is a woman. The Cabinet is not as balanced, but to be honest it is difficult to see who they could put in there.
That was achieved without any engineering so why the panic?
Any form of discrimination is still discrimination. As long as there is equality of opportunity then the best person for the job should always be the maxim.