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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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The gender composition of the 45th parliament

Following the 2016 election the total number of women in Parliament has risen slightly from 69 (31 per cent) to 73 (32 per cent). The number of women in the House of Representatives has risen to 43 (29 per cent), up from 40 (27 per cent) at the end of the 44th Parliament. The number of women in the Senate has increased by one since the end of the 44th Parliament to 30 senators (39 per cent). As is the case in many parliaments around the world, women remain significantly under-represented in the Australian parliament. The Australian figures are similar to those of comparable countries such as Canada, where women make up 29 percent of the parliament, and New Zealand, where women make up 31 per... Read more...

Theresa May becomes the United Kingdom's second female prime minister

On 13 July 2016 Conservative Theresa May became the UK’s 76th prime minister. Ms May is the second female prime minister of the UK, the first being Margaret Thatcher, who governed from 1979 to 1990. Elevation to prime minister Ms May’s elevation comes after the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr Cameron flagged his intention to step down as Prime Minister in the wake of the UK’s vote, in a referendum on 23 June 2016, to withdraw from the European Union (EU). During the referendum campaign Ms May advocated for the UK to stay inside the EU, but has subsequently committed to guide the country through its exit (a process referred to as the ‘Brexit’). In... Read more...

International Women's Day 2016

Tuesday 8 March is International Women’s Day, a day that has now been commemorated for over 100 years in recognition of women’s economic, social and cultural achievements. International Women’s Day was officially recognised by the United Nations in 1975 during International Women’s Year. It arose from early North American and European labour, suffrage and peace movements, and was first celebrated informally in Australia in the 1920s.   Originally marked with rallies to promote greater economic and social participation of women through fundamental reforms, the United Nations (UN) organisation for gender equality, UN Women, has noted that:    Internation... Read more...

Women in the ADF

Historically, the role of women in the military has been a polemic issue, despite the significant contribution and sacrifice women have made in numerous conflicts. In Australia, the process over time of integrating women into what are considered ‘non-traditional’ military roles is explored in a 2015 Parliamentary Library Summer Research Scholarship paper Women in the ADF: six decades of policy change (1950 to 2011). This research paper highlights the changes to defence policy over the last 60 years that have allowed women to pursue military careers and discusses how policies towards women in the civilian workforce have influenced change for women in the armed forces. In the post-... Read more...

White Ribbon Day 2015

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day. This day also marks the start of the United Nations campaign, 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women. Recognition of these events is particularly significant in 2015, as it is 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which outlined a global commitment to gender equality. Read more...

Ints Vikmanis / Shutterstock.com

A snapshot of current trends for women in leadership

The recent decision by Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to appoint equal numbers of men and women to his cabinet made headlines around the world. The issue of gender representation has also been prominent in Australia this year, with the debate about gender equality escalating across the political divide.  Read more...

Image in collection of National Library of Australia : sourceWikimedia Commons

International Women's Day 2015

With the theme ‘Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!’, International Women’s Day 2015 was celebrated internationally on 8 March with thousands of events to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. This Flagpost documents the current state of play of female participation in Australian state and federal politics, and how Australia compares internationally. According to Australian Parliamentary Library data (as of February 2015) Australian parliaments (Commonwealth and State) are 30.9 per cent female, compared to 29.4 per cent in February 2014. The highest proportion of women is in the Victorian Parliament, which is composed of 37.5... Read more...

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (White Ribbon Day)—25 November 2014

  In December 1999, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated 25 November as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in order to encourage international governments to raise public awareness of the levels of violence experienced by the world’s women. In Australia, this day is marked as White Ribbon Day by the White Ribbon campaign—a national, male-led anti-violence campaign involving various awareness raising events and programs conducted in schools, workplaces and the community. Read more...

Women in Australian parliaments

Across Australia women continue to be significantly under-represented in parliament and executive government, comprising less than one-third of all parliamentarians and one-fifth of all ministers. The Parliamentary Library has recently published an updated research paper, Representation of women in Australian parliaments 2014. It presents the latest data on women serving in Australian vice-regal, government and parliamentary leadership positions, ministries and parliamentary committees, as well as presenting an overview of female candidates in previous Commonwealth elections. Whilst the focus of the paper is on the Commonwealth Parliament, it includes comparative information about women in... Read more...

By User:JimOwensPMP (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Women in Australian parliaments

A Parliamentary Library publication, Women parliamentarians in Australia 1921 ̶ 2013 written by Janet Wilson and David Black, has been updated to include women elected to federal, state and territory parliaments to 31 December 2013. Part 1 consists of tables listing all women elected to Commonwealth, State and Territory parliaments since 1921. The lists are presented in chronological order of election and include the age at which the women took their seats, their party affiliation, electoral district represented, dates of service, and the way in which their period of service ended (whether they were defeated, retired, resigned, disqualified or died). Part 1 also includes a table showing wo... Read more...