WOMEN
06/09/2017 05:25 am ET Updated Jun 09, 2017

Women Just Made History At The UK Election

Voters elected more women than ever before, but equality in Parliament is still some way off.

Women are enjoying a historic moment in British politics.

On Thursday, voters in the United Kingdom elected a record number of female politicians to office. The final figure of female Members of Parliament had yet to be confirmed Friday morning ― but the tally had reached 201 by 9 a.m. local time. 

Women now represent just over 30 percent of the U.K.’s 650 constituencies, and the milestone didn’t go unnoticed on Twitter:

The Labour Party’s Preet Kaur Gill also made headlines for becoming the first British Sikh woman to become an MP when she won the Birmingham Edgbaston seat. 

Despite the progress, however, many have called for more gender equality at future elections:

Equality advocates 50:50 Parliament described the increase in the number of women in Parliament as “fab,” but added there’s “still a way to go.”

Great we now have around 206 female MPs, but in truth this is a sad record,” Frances Scott, 50:50 Parliament founder, told HuffPost UK.

“Around 10 more women have been elected ― up 5 percent ― but men still outnumber women by more than 2:1 in the corridors of power,” said Scott. “For true gender equality, a #5050Parliament, we need 325 female MPs so 50:50 will keep campaigning and if you know a good woman #AskHerToStand!”

At the 2015 general election, a total of 191 women won election. The tally of women in Parliament rose to 196 following subsequent by-elections.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May was among those who won reelection Thursday. But her leadership of the Conservative Party is now at risk, as she faces criticism that her campaign resulted in its loss of a parliamentary majority.

But while many celebrated the women’s parliamentary achievements, others pointed out that some sections of U.K. politics still have a long way to go on gender equality issues.

And feminist campaigners have condemned the reelection of Conservative candidate Philip Davies in the Shipley constituency, who faced accusations last year of “talking out” a domestic violence bill in Parliament:

Constance Markievicz, a candidate for the Irish republican political party Sinn Féin, became the first woman to win election to the U.K. Parliament in 1918. But the London-born revolutionary nationalist refused to take her seat.

In December 1919, the Conservative Party’s Nancy Astor finally became the first woman in Parliament after winning a by-election for Plymouth Sutton. It took until 2015 for the total number of female MPs in history to surpass the number of male MPs in a single parliament, which was 454.

This article has been updated throughout.

HuffPost

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