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It Will Be 2035 Before We Have Full Gender Equality In Parliament

We crunched the numbers, and at the rate they’re going the Coalition won’t have gender equality until 2055.

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Australia has a long way to go if it is to achieve gender equality in federal parliament, with women holding only 26.7% of seats in the federal House of Representatives.

Julie Bishop and Sussan Ley with the rest of their female ministerial colleagues. / Via AAP

A BuzzFeed News analysis of female representation in parliament shows that while Labor outperforms the Coalition, both major parties are still well short of equal representation.

The opening of Australia's first parliament. That's a lotta dudes. / Via State Library of South Australia

At the 2013 election, 38% of Labor MPs elected were women, while that figure is only 20% for the Coalition.

The issue of gender inequality has been making headlines lately, with Liberal MP Sharman Stone calling for her party to introduce quotas, and Labor increasing affirmative action targets at its recent national conference.

The idea of a quota is not supported by most Liberal MPs, with many supporting a target instead. This includes Kelly O'Dwyer, who told Lateline that "when you measure something, you achieve better outcomes and I'd like to think that we can achieve better outcomes".

The ALP is aiming to reach 50% representation by women by 2025, but a look at the numbers shows we're a long way off.


The number of women in parliament has been slowly rising over the years. But if the current rate of increase were to continue, how long would it take before we reached a 50/50 split?

This analysis shows that we won't reach 50/50 gender representation until the year 2035.

Within the Coalition, it's even worse.

Alan Porritt / AAPIMAGE

The growth of women on the Coalition benches is so slow that if you extend the trend of the last 25 years into the future, you don't reach 50% until the year 2055.

It's a long way, isn't it?

Of course, this all assumes that there won't be any change in the way the Liberal Party selects its candidates, and doesn't include any impact of the new Labor Party quota.

This is an extrapolation of current trends, using a model with not much data. It may not be a statistically rigorous estimate, but it shows that the major parties are a very long way from 50/50, and progress has been slower than Bill Shorten delivering a zinger.


To show just how far away 2035 is, here are 9 things that will happen before we reach gender equality in the federal parliament

3. Nikki Webster will be on her way to retirement age.

Gabriel Bouys / Getty Images

Our Nikki turns 55 in 2042. If she's looking for something to do in her retirement, perhaps she could run for Liberal Party preselection? I hear Wyatt Roy likes Strawberry Kisses.


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