In the early 1980s my union did an exercise in attracting more female members to participate. It worked, to a certain extent, the changes initiated doubled the number of women attending union meetings, it also doubled the number of men attending – which preserved the gender imbalance! Which suggests that many of the reasons given for "gender imbalance" in politics - family friendly – time – place – terminology – structure etc aren't things that put women off politics but are things that put people off politics.
The family friendly argument is popular but doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Because of the distances travelled, by virtue of being held in two different places and because of the huge size of each constituency the most family unfriendly of elected offices is the MEP, where Wales currently has 50 / 50 gender balance and has been fairly well represented by women since the first elections in the 1970's. If a lack of family friendliness was the real reason for gender imbalance in politics 40% of all MEPs ever elected in Wales would not have been women.
If any party offered me a safe seat as an MEP I wouldn't accept it, I cannot think of a worse job in elected politics, I wouldn't fight tooth and nail for it, any boy or girl who wants the job is welcome to it!
And that is the real rub in gender politics – when men stand it has sod all to do with gender it's to do with ME. I stood for election to my community council last year. If eleven women were elected and I was the only man elected, I couldn't give a shit about the men who lost, as long as I won!
I stood so that I could be a community councillor not so that a man could hold that role. I stood as an individual who hoped to contribute to the council not as a male!
The feminist movement, to a certain extent, has homogenised female politics. A woman stands election for womanhood rather than just as a candidate for her party, and that is wrong!
If I vote for Leanne (through her party) in the next election my support will be based on what we have in common between our ears and in our hearts not on the differences between our legs!
I want Wales to be an independent and successful country I don't care about the gender balance, disability balance, racial balance etc that delivers a free Wales; I just care about the deliverance!