In the debate about gender balance in parliament I haven’t come across any discussion on whether equal numbers of men and women want to be MPs.
If more women are seeking selection and failing while fewer men try and succeed, and there is no great difference in their suitability, there could be an issue of discrimination.
But if fewer women seek selection in the first place, fewer getting to parliament might not be the problem those wanting better balance between the genders think it is.
I’ve been involved in selections several times.
The first one had two men and one woman seeking the candidacy. One of the men won the selection but didn’t win the seat.
The second one had two men standing and the successful one won the seat.
The third time a couple of men stood but the winner didn’t take the seat.
The next time only one applicant passed the pre-selection process. She became the candidate and won the seat.
The fifth time a man and a woman sought the candidacy, she was selected and won the seat.
The sixth time two men stood for selection but the one who became the candidate didn’t make it in to parliament .
The last time, two women sought selection. The successful one didn’t win the seat but was on the cusp of being a list MP.
In all these selections, the successful people became candidates on their merits.
That’s nine men seeking selection, five winning but only one of whom became an MP while five women sought to be a candidate, three succeeded and two became MPs.
This is anecdote not science.
It would be interesting to know what proper statistical analysis of the numbers standing, succeeding as candidates and then becoming MPs showed.