Not just MPs, where are the women in Government? New figures show that fewer than one in five holders of key posts are female

Labour leader Ed Miliband accused David Cameron last week of 'failing' women in politics

The full scale of the under-representation of women in the government is revealed today, with figures showing that fewer than one in five holders of some of the key posts in government are female.

Ed Miliband accused David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions last week of “failing” women in politics, with a series of female Conservative MPs standing down and missing his own target of ensuring a third of government ministers are women.

But new figures show how the problem of under-representation in the government goes further: just 14 per cent of 114 Privy Councillors appointed since 2010 were women, while 14 per cent of the seats on Cabinet committees, who oversee the business of government, are held by women. Six Cabinet committees have no female presence, including the Coalition committee, while the Economic Affairs Committee, one of the most important in government, has just one woman. None of the 26 Cabinet committees have female chairmen or deputy chairmen.

Of the 85 policy “tsars” created by Mr Cameron since 2010, 13 are women, or 15 per cent. Less than 20 per cent of ambassadors appointed to represent the government since the coalition was formed in 2010 have been women, while only 25 per cent of permanent secretaries are female.

Mr Miliband, in his attack on Wednesday, said Mr Cameron was running the government “like an old boys network”. There are only four women ministers in the Cabinet, while five of the 48 female Conservative MPs elected in 2010 have either left, are standing down or have been deselected. However seven female Labour MPs are standing down at the next election – although they have served in Parliament for longer.

Last year Mr Cameron admitted that he needed to do more in getting women into government posts, adding: “My wife likes to say that if you don’t have women in the top places, you are not just missing out on 50 per cent of the talent, you are missing out on a lot more than 50 per cent of the talent - and I think she probably has a point.

“We still have a long way to go. If you look at the top businesses in Britain, there still aren’t nearly enough women in the boardroom. If you look at politics in Britain, there aren’t nearly enough women around the Cabinet table.

Gloria De Piero, Labour’s shadow minister for women and equalities, said last night: “It’s no wonder people feel the government doesn’t understand their everyday struggles when half the population is so significantly under-represented in the Coalition. David Cameron and Nick Clegg cannot claim their parties speak for Britain when they routinely ignore so many women in their own ranks.

“From Conservative selections to the Cabinet committees that make the key decisions, women are being shut out. Meanwhile, women are feeling the effects of all this -  with the gender pay gap rising and the high cost of childcare meaning that for many women things have never been so tough for them and their families. Labour is the only party committed to making politics look and sound like the country we seek to serve.”

Yesterday Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, pledged that if Labour win the election he would appoint a woman to the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, which has had no female representation since 2010.

The figures collated by the Labour party show that 15 of the 62 Conservative peers created since 2010 have been women, while 18 of the 65 candidates selected by the Tories for the 2015 election are female.

A Tory spokesman said: “We are committed to increasing female representation in the public sector and all walks of life ”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Recruitment Genius: Magento Front End Web Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore