Open House: where next for gender equality in Parliament?
Open House is an audit of the UK House of Commons in relation to the recommendations made in 11 reports, dating from 2014 to the present, which aim to improve gender diversity in the House and Parliament, support women MPs, and highlight international best practice. This report outlines where action has been taken and points to where more work needs to be done. It is the first time an audit of the previous audits has been conducted, and it represents a starting point for a longer-term review system that ensures momentum to implement these and future recommendations continues.
The recommendations from each of these reports are grouped into four themes, to address issues relating to equality of participation, infrastructure, culture and women’s substantive representation. Recommendations range from measures to increase the diversity of members, through to provisions for work-life balance, addressing harassment and bullying, and ensuring that data on diversity is being collected and published. The recommendations encompass measures to help people with caring responsibilities and disabilities, and to ensure an intersectional approach is taken when addressing women’s underrepresentation.
The scope of this report is limited to the House of Commons and the wider parliamentary context, reflecting the focus of past reports on the elected chamber of Parliament. It does not cover the House of Lords, political parties or other key agents, though they are clearly also worthy of attention.