House of Commons Library

Women in the House of Commons: Background Paper

Published Monday, March 27, 2017

This briefing paper provides information on the number female MPs currently sitting in the House of Commons. It also gives a history of the campaigns to give women the vote and to allow them to stand as candidates for election.

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At the General Election of May 2015, 191 women were elected as Members of Parliament. Of the 177 new members elected to Parliament for the first time in 2015, 79 were women. There are now 196 women MPs.  The number of women currently serving in Parliament is at its highest ever, with just over three in ten MPs now a woman.

This background paper provides a breakdown of female MPs currently sitting in the House of Commons. It also gives a history of the campaigns to give women the vote and to allow them to stand as candidates for election. The history of parliamentary representation by women is also briefly examined.

Further information on women in Parliament, including some international comparisons, and in Government is available in the Library Briefing Paper Women in Parliament and Government (SN01250).

A separate briefing paper is available which lists all the women who have ever been elected to the House of Commons, Women Members of Parliament (SN06652).

Commons Briefing papers SN06651

Authors: Richard Kelly; Michael Everett

Topics: House of Commons, Members of Parliament

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