The underrepresentation of women in political life, gender equality in policy making and the relationship between gender representation and gender equality, are considered in parallel within research undertaken at the University of Manchester (UoM). The work has informed Labour Government commitments to promote diversity of representation in local and national government, and more recently has underscored the detrimental impact of the Coalition Government’s austerity policies; informing the Opposition Labour Party, contributing to public debate and empowering those most harshly affected. Explicit policy impact can be seen in two domains. Firstly, the ‘Duty to Promote Democracy’, introduced via Statute in 2009. Secondly, following the ‘Speakers Conference on Parliamentary Representation’ (2010), research for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on diversity in Parliament, that continues to inform policy debate.