It begins by examining the numbers of women in Australian parliaments,
particularly in NSW and at federal level (Section 2 pp 1-14). The extent to
which women are represented in various political parties is measured, as is
their involvement in more senior political positions. This paper explores why
women remain underrepresented despite numerous national and global initiatives
to improve the number of women parliamentarians (Section 3 pp 14-17). The
question of why women should feature in greater numbers is briefly addressed
(Section 4 pp 17-21). However, due to increased acceptance of the need for more
women parliamentarians greater attention is given to various strategies for
improving numbers (Section 5 pp 21-27).
Research has indicated that political parties frequently present the
greatest obstacle to women being elected due to their preselection procedures.
Accordingly, the strategies adopted by individual parties to boost the number
of female members are examined (Section 6 pp 27-34).
Australia currently ranks 23rd in an international list of the proportion of
female members of the lower house of parliament of each state. Reference is
made to the strategies adopted by countries with a greater number of women
parliamentarians, and also to initiatives developed by countries where dramatic
improvement has occurred in the last decade (Section 7 pp 34-41).
A table of federal women ministers since 1996 is included as Appendix A. A
table of federal women shadow ministers since 1996 is included as Appendix B.
The Charter for Political Reform released by Women Into Politics Inc is
attached as Appendix C.