Critical Mass

The National Assembly has become a world leader in its representation of women. In the 2003 elections 50 per cent of members returned were women, building on 40 per cent in the first 1999 election. The achievement prompted First Minister Rhodri Morgan to declare “We understand that we are the only legislature in the world that is perfectly balanced between men and women. The people of Wales have every right to be proud of having set that new world record.”

However, since then the trend has been for a reduction in female AMs in the National Assembly. Following the May 2011 Assembly election, this report predicts that the proportion of female AMs could fall from 5o per cent to nearer 30 per cent. This is perilously close to the critical mass of female membership generally regarded as needed in organisations to ensure that their culture is reasonably feminised.