Men’s voices heard 90% of the time in Brexit debate

PUBLISHED: 13:54 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:10 12 October 2018

Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons (Photograph: House of Commons)

Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons (Photograph: House of Commons)

Archant

Women MPs’ voices are drowned out in Parliamentary debates by men – who have made 90 per cent of all Parliamentary contributions on Brexit.

According to the study - carried out by the Women for a People’s Vote campaign - men have spoken for nearly 90% of the time given to debating the EU in the House of Commons, despite 32% of MPs being women.

Overall male MPs have spoken for more than 12 hours in all of the EU debates, compared to the 2.4 hours women MPs have spoken for in Parliament.

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The People’s Vote statistics reveal that for the 97,383 words men have uttered in Brexit debates women managed to get just 18,333 words in.

Campaigners fear the male-dominated debate around Brexit means women’s voices are not being heard or represented.

Alison McGovern MP, a Women for a People’s Vote campaigner, said: “Women are disproportionately impacted by Brexit, but our voices are being drowned out by mansplaining men in Westminster. Only a third of MPs are women – a figure that must improve – but men still dominate 90% of the time we have had to debate Brexit in Parliament.

“The European Union protects workers’ rights, disability rights, maternity rights, the working time directive and environmental regulations - all of which disproportionately impact women. It’s women who get hit the worst whilst there is a Brexit-led economic downturn, women whose rights are most likely to be traded away in the name of deregulation, and women who will feel the pain most acutely of further austerity.

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“But as long as men dominate the debate those issues won’t get the time and attention they deserve and need. The Brexit debate has been dominated by a male elite in Westminster for too long. That’s why it’s time for all women to have a say through a People’s Vote.”

Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party said: “The Brexit debate has never been about women. During the referendum 91 percent of press coverage went to men, while critical questions about healthcare, housing and employment went unanswered.

“Parliament should have been an essential process for scrutinising the potential impact of Brexit. When women’s voices are missing from those parliamentary debates, women’s lives are not represented, yet we know Brexit will affect women differently to men. Today’s findings from Women for a People’s Vote, show that nothing has changed since the referendum - male MPs are still talking over women.

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“So long as women are outnumbered 2:1 in Parliament and male MPs refuse to let women speak in the debates, there can be no such thing as a meaningful vote. For women’s voices to be heard, we need a People’s Vote on Brexit.”

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