Charlie Douglass: Guaranteeing gender equality

A post by Charlie Douglass.

Democracy we are told is government by the people. What if many of the people aren’t involved? What if some have a much stronger voice than others?

If a government is to act on behalf of people of every colour, gender, age, and wealth status, then we must either rely on politicians ignoring self-interest completely, or find a way in which a house of parliament can have its members chosen very differently to today. Bias matters because today our parliaments under-represent many groups. Women are under-represented and although some change is happening, the change is slow. Why should the men who are already there be the ones who decide how fast the change is? Why is there so little effort to represent people from below the poverty line?

If you could draw equal representation from across society into a house of parliament, then self-interest matters much less. If a parliament was half female, half male, and contained people from every type of wealth status, then many really important issues would see quick and effective change. Poverty has the attention of many of us, but without power not much is changing. When there is a vote which gives voice to all, then the bias of media barons and political donations can be put in the trash-can where it belongs.

In many countries politics has two houses of government, and the proposal here is to replace the one is which the nation’s leader does not stand. In the USA, France and Australia this is the Senate. In the UK this is the House of Lords, and in Germany it is The Bundesrat. After two terms perhaps this new senate could replace both houses, or the second house could be replaced by sortition also – forming two houses.
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