NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The Isle of Man Chief Minister has responded to a query from the Celtic League about political gender balance within Tynwald.
His reply is set out below and a link to our original correspondence is at the foot of this post;
“Thank you for your letter of the 23 September 2015
As you know I am a strong supporter of equality in all areas of Island life.
I agree with the Speaker that the current gender balance in Tynwald is regrettable. I do not believe, however, that there are any legislative or procedural obstacles to the participation of women in politics in the Island. I am certain that when women have become Members of Tynwald they have been treated entirely equally in terms of both Governmental and Tynwald opportunities, duties and responsibilities.
As you know, the United Kingdom’s ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women extends to the Island. I am aware of the documents that you refer to in your letter and I would not argue with their aspiration.
Notwithstanding the recent amendments to the Representation of the People Act 1995 in relation to the registration of political parties in the Island, the large majority of the Members of Tynwald do not belong to such parties and I believe that this will continue to be the case in the future. Although quotas of women candidates might work in larger jurisdictions which are dominated by political parties, it is not my view that such measures would be appropriate for the Isle of Man with its majority of independent candidates. For example, I think it would be entirely unacceptable, and unworkable, to require the people of the Island to elect one man and woman to each House of Keys constituency at the next General Election. Others of course may think otherwise.
I am sure that there are a wide range of complex reasons why more women do not stand for election, both at national and local government level in the Island and indeed elsewhere.
Hon Allan Bell MHK
The Celtic League is grateful for this prompt reply.
Issued by: The Celtic News
THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE
The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues