More on gender quotas in political parties

Danyl McLauchlan at Dimpost discusses Trotter’s post about Labour’s man ban and makes some interesting points.

  • Firstly, did Anderson get selected through a gender quota mechanism, rather than the traditional Labour Party method of being a benefactor of whatever factional in-group happens to temporarily control the leadership?
  • Even if it was about gender quotas, the logic of quotas always seemed pretty water-tight to me. If you don?t have them men almost always predominate lists and contests, regardless of their merit, for historical and social reasons. If you want to have genuine selection based on merit you need to compel parties to select candidates of both genders, instead of a bunch of guys winning out just because they?re men.
  • And I am always suspicious of pundit anecdotes in which decent blunt speaking folk have strong opinions about the arcane inner workings of political parties that happen to align to the pundits? own views.
  • On the other hand, political gender quotas are really not very popular with either men or women. The NZES asked about them after the last election.


  • Why aren?t quotas more popular with women?voters? Firstly I think that while the argument for them is compelling, to me at least, it is also a bit complicated and counter-intuitive and cuts against people?s basic understanding of fairness.
  • I think it?s also a very,?very?elite debate. The political class is super-interested in gender quotas because they?re personally invested in the outcomes of candidate selections and list rankings and portfolio allocations, which nobody outside those tiny cliques has the slightest interest in. So the debate itself perpetuates the negative perception that left-wing parties preoccupied with such things don?t?care about ?real issues?.?It?s why the ominous warnings about National having ?women trouble? ie not enough of them on the front bench never seem to come true.
  • What does Labour?do when they put forward an argument on behalf of a group they perceive to be disadvantaged, and the group itself does not accept the argument? Is it ?throwing women under the bus? to abandon the promotion of gender quotas if most women disagree with them? Do you keep making the argument and hope people will come around, because that?s how progress works? What happens if they don?t?

Labour thinks they are doing women a great service. Most of Danyl’s points are valid, especially the last few.

His last point is really valid. By constantly telling women they are so hopeless at politics that the only way they can make it is to have a quota and a man ban in place is really, really demeaning.The point is that they don’t see it as demeaning. The electorate does, though…and this is why they keep voting for National.

So long as Labour continues to distract itself with unimportant issues National will continue to cruise to victory.