Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rampant sexism (2)

Poor old Dave - he got his nose all bent out of shape at the Times suggesting there aren't enough women in his team yesterday, so he's been given his own space in the Times comment section to put his point of view.

Yesterday, The Times accused my party of failing to do enough to promote women in politics. Today, I want to set a few things straight.

See - told ya.

It is crucial that the people who make decisions that affect everyone's lives represent Britain as a whole and that we end the chronic under- representation of women in politics.


Why is it crucial that the people who make decisions represent Britain as a whole? Does that mean a quarter of your cabinet is going to be under 16? Is a third going to be over 60? How many disabled? How many left-handed?

Why is it necessary to end the "chronic under-representation of women in politics"? Politics managed along quite well without any women in politics before and those that were good enough have always managed to do very well in politics - so why do they need any special help?

And why is that more important than, say, ending the chronic under-representation of men in education, social services or various other female dominated employments? Dave decides to tie himself in knots.

If you want more women in your party, there are two routes you can take. The first is straightforward positive discrimination - including blocking men from shortlists, as Labour did. Though this would have guaranteed an increase in the number of women in our party, I instinctively knew it was wrong for a party that believes in meritocracy - that people should rise on the back of hard work and not who they are.

So positive discrimination is wrong, eh?

The second route is the one I predominantly choose to take - positive action.

Eh? What's the difference?

If straightforward positive discrimination is about closing doors to those who don't fit the new mould, positive action is about opening them to those we want to welcome. Above all, that's what I've done. I introduced a priority list with the explicit aim of getting more female candidates into our key marginal seats.

So ....... positive discrimination is about preventing men from getting on a list while positive action is about creating a priority list of women. If I were going to be polite, I'd say that Cameron was dealing with semantics here - but I'm not ... it's utter bullshit. It's discrimination - pure, unadulterated and blatant sex discrimination. There isn't a difference between positive action and positive discrimination - and he bloody well knows it!

What is important is that the people who make decisions make the right decisions. I don't care whether they are male, female, black, white or a combination of all - just make the right decisions.

1 comment:

bernard said...

In fact there are far TOO MANY women in positions of political influence and power.
This is further compounded by the men becoming "caring" and "all inclusive" feminised.