MPs were not allowed to change their minds once they had entered the voting

Mps were not allowed to change their minds once they

This preview shows page 14 - 16 out of 20 pages.

MPs were not allowed to change their minds once they had entered the voting lobby and he added ‘surprisingly the rule was not changed […] even when women became MPs’. Everywhere you look, the idea that women simply aren’t suited to politics seems to be deeply ingrained, with even direct evidence of strong female leaders being twisted to fit the stereotype instead of debunking it. I was discussing politics with a guy I know who began to say how much he admired Margaret Thatcher [...] This guy later told me, in the same conversation, that women shouldn’t ever be leaders. I said, ‘Well what about Thatcher?’ He then told me ‘she was basically a man anyway [...] she had a male brain’. So obviously women don’t owe their success to hard work and have to hope they have masculine qualities to make up for it.
One frustrating consequence of women being underrepresented in politics is that often any woman is seen first and foremost to represent all women, as if she speaks and advocates for them, and can be judged as if all womankind stands or falls by her actions. Creasy says: ‘The notion that I could represent all women: that’s a thing that really annoys me. As though women aren’t very diverse – as though we’re quite homogenous really in what we care about. Somehow, men are multifaceted and talented and represent all sorts of different things, but women? The prime minister can have *a* woman to advise on women – job done!’ This is particularly pertinent when you consider the enormous political underrepresentation of women of colour, disabled women and LBGTQ women – none of whom are miraculously ‘included’ in the debate simply by the introduction of a white, middle-class female voice. And, just as in business, the visibility of women lower down the rungs of political power is often used as a veneer of equality, to ignore even greater gender imbalance higher up. Even the aforementioned eleven-year-olds seemed satisfied by it, commenting: ‘There are quite a few women in politics but they’re not like the president or prime minister, because men rule.’ In addition, argues Kezia Dugdale, the underrepresentation actively discourages female politicians from taking up the mantle of ‘women’s issues’, lest they become ‘labelled’ with a reputation for ‘softness’. She says this doesn’t stop her fighting for the issues about which she feels passionate, but: ‘You do have that thought in the back of your head of not just wanting to be seen as somebody who’s constantly raising issues around domestic violence or gender inequality or everyday sexism […] I can sense it – Oh, there she goes again…’ And indeed the very notion that there is such a thing in politics as a ‘women’s issue’ is deeply damaging – not just to the women fighting for those causes but also to society at large. The political marginalization caused by labelling problems such as domestic violence ‘women’s issues’ is inestimable. Here women are ostracized from mainstream policies by the implication that their focus should be only on those that affect them directly – which of course in turn mutes their voices in other debates. To boot, the

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture