As I’ve pointed out before on this blog, I believe that the differences between individuals vastly outstrip the differences between men and women. Because I don’t think that women have some innate qualities which make them different to me, you might expect me not to care that slightly less than a quarter of MPs are female. Not so. I see a strong argument for a more diverse Parliament based on what individuals can bring to the table.
The gender (or race, class, or disability) of an individual has a relationship on how they are perceived by and treated by society. Women, while all being individuals, tend to have slightly different experiences to men. People with different experiences bring different skills to the table, different ways of working, difference points of view. Having a mixture of experiences increases the skills held by Parliament as a whole. The more diverse the group (the more different experiences members have had), the more likely it is that policy failings will be recognised. Better policy comes from a group with broad experience.
The House of Commons is meant to be a representative body, and increasing the diversity experience in Parliament makes it more representative of the people. A more diverse Parliament will serve its people better because it will know them better.
Update: I think I’d better add that although I support greater diversity, I believe that it should come about through encouragement rather than quotas. Here’s why.