The election – if not the outcome – is over.
It’s been a campaign devoid of female voices, during which a great deal more attention has been paid to the shoes and dresses of leaders' wives than the views and policies of female politicians.
So, as I watched the results coming in on Thursday night, I was excited see the first few seats taken by women.
But it didn’t last. The outcome for women is miserable, and the numbers (from the Centre for Women and Democracy) speak for themselves. 142 female MPs were elected, which is only 22 percent of the total 649.
At the dissolution of parliament in April, there were 126 women MPs – 19.5 percent of the total. There are significantly more women on the Conservative benches, and fewer on the Labour and Liberal Democrat benches.
The number of Conservative women MPs has risen from 18 to 48 (an increase from 9 to 16 percent). The number of Labour women MPs has fallen from 94 to 81, but the fall in the overall number of Labour MPs means that there is a percentage increase of 4 percent (from 27 to 31 percent). The number of Liberal Democrat women MPs has fallen from 9 to 7; a decrease from 15 to 12 percent.
The women who lost their seats included Susan Kramer, formerly a London mayoral candidate for the Liberal Democrats, Jacqui Smith, the first female home secretary, and Vera Baird (pictured), the solicitor general. Both Smith and Baird have worked hard to campaign for women's issues.
But there is some positive news. The first three Muslim female MPs were elected, all of them for Labour: Rushanara Ali in Bethnal Green and Bow, in east London; Yasmin Qureshi in Bolton South-East; and Shabana Mahmood in Birmingham Ladywood.
Other notable winners were Chinyelu Onwurah, an engineer, businesswoman and anti-apartheid campaigner, who won in Newcastle Central, businesswoman Margot James, the first openly lesbian Tory MP (Stourbridge in the West Midlands), and the bestselling novelist Louise Bagshawe, who now represents Corby and Northamptonshire East.