Age-related sexism is a real obstacle to progress in getting more women to the political frontline, and it’s well time that political parties began to realise that and act upon it. The repeated failure in the UK and beyond to achieve more women in Parliament and elsewhere is a fundamental obstacle to meaningful universal suffrage.
Nonetheless, the continuing tendency is somehow to blame women themselves for not standing in sufficient numbers where there are winnable seats. This is neither fair nor honest. Insofar as ‘fault’ is the issue, it lies rather more specifically with the present power elite (mostly male) than with ‘women’ in general.
The current belief is that ‘training’ will address the gender deficit in candidate lists, but this averts attention from some central issues. One size does not fit all. Inflexible programmes of induction can diminish rather than enhance the standing within their party of better experienced and qualified candidates; and this is especially true of mature women candidates entering the fray.