191 women MPs were elected at the 2015 General Election, 29% of all MPs and a record high. Prior to 1987 women had never been more than 5% of MPs. 456 women have been elected to the Commons since 1918, surpassing the current number of male MPs.Jump to full report >>
This briefing sets out key statistics for women in Parliament and other elected bodies in the UK.
191 women MPs were elected at the 2015 General Election, 29% of all MPs and a record high.
211 women, 26%, are Members of the House of Lords.
Just over one-third (35%) of members in the Scottish Parliament are women, compared to just over two-fifths (42%) of members of National Assembly for Wales and 28% of Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Following the 2014 European Parliament elections, women are 40% of UK MEPs.
Local Government councillors
32% of local authority councillors in England are women, as of 2013. In Scotland, 24% of councillors are women. Women hold 26% of council seats in Wales. In Northern Ireland 25% of councillors are women.
Women MPs since 1918
Since 1918, 456 women have been elected as Members of the House of Commons. In 1918 Constance Markievicz became the first women to be elected as an MP though, elected for Sinn Féin, she did not take her seat. Nancy Astor was the first women to take a seat in the House of Commons, in 1919. The total number of women to have been elected to the House since 1918 has now surpassed the number of men (454) elected in the current Parliament.
Currently there are eight women in the Cabinet (including the Prime Minister) which is 35% of 23 Cabinet posts.
Margaret Bondfield was the first ever woman appointed to Cabinet, in 1929; Margaret Thatcher became the UK’s first woman Prime Minister in 1979, and Theresa May the second in 2016.
Commons Briefing papers SN01250
Authors: Richard Keen; Richard Cracknell; Vyara Apostolova