The 2015 General Election saw a record number of women elected to the House of Commons. 191 women MPs, 29.4% of the total, was the highest number and proportion ever. It has been frequently pointed out, however, that the number of male MPs in the current Parliament remained higher than the number of women who had ever been elected.
This is no longer the case. Following last week’s by-election in Sleaford and North Hykeham the number of women ever elected equals the number of men currently elected. To date there have been 455 women MPs elected, the same as the current number of men MPs. (Note that the figures for both men and women include Sinn Fein MPs who have not taken their seats in the House of Commons.)
191 women elected in 2015
At the 2015 General Election, of the 191 women MPs elected, 99 were Labour, 68 Conservative and 20 SNP. 43% of Labour MPs were women, 21% of Conservative MPs and 36% of SNP MPs. There were no women Liberal Democrat MPs elected in 2015.
Up to 195, following 8 by elections
To date, there have been eight by-elections since the 2015 General Election. Five of these have resulted in a woman being elected. In four cases a woman replaced a male MP, to take the current number of women MPs to 195, 30% the total.
Bringing us to a total 455 women elected since 1918
Since 1918, 455 women have been elected as a Members of the House of Commons. 261 (57%) were first elected as Labour MPs and 133 (29%) Conservative.
Until 1997 women had never been more than 10% of all MPs, and until the late 1980s the proportion had always been below 5%. The proportion doubled to 18% following the 1997 General Election when 120 women were elected. The next large increase was in 2015 when the proportion rose to 29%.
Find out more about women MPs since 1918 in House of Commons Library Briefing Paper – Women in Parliament and Government (13 Dec 2016 update)
Picture credit: Women Members of Parliament Stand Together © UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor (2016)