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Women Trail Males In Knowledge Of MMP

At a time when there are more female candidates for Parliament than ever before the latest research by the Electoral Commission shows that women’s knowledge of the MMP electoral system is lagging well behind that of the male voters.

The research conducted earlier this month reveals that that while 66 percent of men understand that the Party Vote decides parties’ shares of seats in Parliament, the figure for women is only 44 percent. Similarly, 85 percent of men know there are two votes with MMP compared to 67 percent of women. In some age groups the differences are even greater.

There are similar gaps between knowledge of the function of the party list and the eligibility threshold for a party to get a share of seats in Parliament based on its Party Votes.

The Commission says that the trend of a gender gap has been evident in research conducted each year since 1994.

The Commission’s Chief Executive, Dr Paul Harris, said today that anyone can easily obtain information they need by ringing the electoral agencies’ freephone service 0800 800 610 or by asking for a booklet at any PostShop.
Another good source is the electoral website www.elections.org.nz

He said the Commission had recently mailed information to a number of women in particular age groups to try to redress the gap. It had also taken a number of other initiatives aimed specifically at women.


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