A diverse democracy: Building a Wales for all

Electoral Reform Society,

Posted on the 15th April 2016

At its heart, democracy is a celebration of variety.

Democracy requires that arguments are tested, scrutinised and checked, from inception to delivery. That’s why it’s important that the backgrounds of those doing that are as diverse as possible – to get the broadest perspectives based on the facts and the experiences of people in Wales.

And it’s why no one group should have a monopoly on representation. We need to shatter the glass ceiling in the Assembly.

So today we’re proud to launch our manifesto on diversity – our ‘asks’ for the Welsh parties ahead of May 5th.

A proper understanding and response to our problems and challenges Wales faces requires the participation of all the communities of Welsh society. If some groups are significantly less engaged and represented than others, this fosters and reinforce inequality. When voices are excluded, democracy suffers.

As we move to a more ‘networked’ and participative model of governance, there’s a risk that this exclusion gets worse – louder and more privileged voices have the biggest sway, at the expense of those who have been excluded from the political process.

Wales has done better on this in recent years. But the image of the politician as a grey haired, grey suited, middle-aged man should no longer hold.

In some areas the National Assembly for Wales has been very strong – such as gender representation, and the statutory duty to include different demographics in the process of policy-making. But there remains the risk that these gains are fragile.

We call on all parties to join Stonewall CymruWomen Making a Difference and the Women’s Institute, and sign up to the policies in our Diversity manifesto we launch today.

Let’s ensure that our community of communities in Wales is adequately reflected in politics. Welsh democracy is growing and developing all the time. We can grow together – and democracy can only benefit.

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