So really, where are the women? Out of 29 cabinet posts, how many of those do you think are women? Take a guess. The answer is 4. Yes, 4! To say that Cameron is an active promoter for all-women short lists, he certainly forgot about that when picking his premier (that is not to say I agree with all-women shortlists – I have voiced my opposition to them a countless number of times). And Clegg, to say that he is supposedly in a party who pride themselves on equality, it is very disappointing that none of the LibDem cabinet posts went to a woman.
Well firstly, I have my own views regarding the LibDem cabinet positions. Everyone of them appointed were involved in the discussions and negotiations – can it be any more obvious why?. It can be the only explanation for why Simon Hughes for example, a very competent LEFT centered LibDem, is shafted for Chirs Huhme (involved in the negotiations) at energy and climate change.
Lets consider the women who do feature within the cabinet. Theresa May is the token woman, as both Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality. The latter ministerial position should have definitely been given to a woman within the LibDems given that we are witnessing a quite exciting movement within our party, who advocate the advancement of women’s rights (e.g Real Woman campaign). MPs I am thinking of here include Jo Swinson, Lynne Featherstone and Sarah Teather. A ministerial position for Woman and Equality, in my opinion, requires 100% input and this is hardly going to happen when May is busy implementing policies such as the unworkable immigration cap.
More on Theresa May. Lets not forget that Home Secretary is not seen as an admirable position by many. Look at those before May, Johnson arguably ruined his leadership bid with an array of incompetent decisions. Then Jacqui Smith, who faced a very tough time before Johnson – and eventually resigned under the pressure. So for starters, May hardly got a great deal as the most prominent woman minister.
Now more on this equality position of hers. As PinkPaper point out:
“In 1998 she voted against an equal age of consent. In 2000 she voted against the repeal of Section 28. In 2001 and 2002, she voted against gays and lesbians being able to adopt. And in 2008 she voted against legislation which removed the need for a father in lesbians undergoing IVF treatment.”
Hardly a portfolio of someone who is supposed to be championing equality, is it? Lets also remember that she is in favour of cutting the abortion limit. No wonder Cameron has given her the Women and Equality ministerial position when she fits in with his views so nicely.
Something else that has sprung to mind, which I was actually going to blog the other day but is more relevant now, whilst Lynne Featherstone and Harriet Harman pledged their support to try to reduce the objectification caused by The Sun’s page 3, May said she would not. No prizes for guessing the obvious reason for why this may be the case, but despite Murdock’s Sun newspaper- there is obviously something fundamentally missing from May’s ability to be a firm promoter of women’s causes.
Whilst I would not advocate a banning of page 3, which I am sure the LibDems would not advocate, due to the damages it would do to liberal values – I think it is equally illiberal to have no real regulation over the newspaper. Instead, there should be adaption of the proposals to regulate The Sun and The Daily Sport in the same ways other sexually explicitly material are – this is what I think Harman and Featherstone meant when it came to tackling the paper.
As you might be able to tell, I am not best pleased with the cabinet selection. Women’s equality, I feel, will not be adequately promoted by only having under a handful of women cabinet ministers and an MP for Women and Equality who has an abysmal record on equality and women’s rights.