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Lack of female GPC representation to be investigated

LMC representatives have voted in favour of a full investigation into why women are underrepresented in the GPC and on the negotiating team.

A motion calling on the GPC to look into ways of making itself representative at a time when there are no female negotiators was passed overwhelmingly following support from the GPC itself.

Proposer Dr Kath Markus, of Derbyshire LMC, described frustration about the underrepresentation of women on the GPC and said it is off-putting to see so many men on the committee. It too often comes across as a ‘gentleman’s club’, she added.

Dr Rob Barnett, from Liverpool LMC and representing the GPC, said the committee was looking into this issue and it would be helpful to the committee if the motion was passed.

Earlier, in the ‘question the negotiators’ section, Dr Jacky Appleby, City and East London LMC, said to raptuous applause: ‘I’d like to ask, why are there no women sitting up there with you? Can we address this please?’

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘I am not proud that there are no women up here. There is likely to be at least one woman on this team next year.

‘Can I say that it should not be so, it should be half and half roughly. There is nothing inherently stopping that. You may well say there are plenty of reasons why it doesn’t happen, you can say it is not family friendly, I don’t know why. We have gone out of our way to analyse this because it isn’t right.

He added: ‘I have to say I wonder why there are so many uncontested elections for GPC. That is a mystery to me when there are plenty of places where a good person, gender non-specified, could actually come into the GPC. Why is that? I don’t know, but the answer is you are quite right and it is not something to be proud of, it is something that should change [but] you wouldn’t want positive discrimination surely? What you want is that the merits of the candidate gets you in. But in that case, there should be at least 50% [of merited candidates] who aren’t men.’