Thursday, March 06, 2008

International Women's Day

Today was International Women's Day and I was extremely pleased to see a large part of both the Commons and Lords business dedicated to the subject.

The debate was started by a particularly partisan speech by The Minister for Women and Equality (Ms Harriet Harman), who consistently refused to give way to Conservative Mark Pritchard, giving her reason as this:

"I am not giving way to one of the 91 per cent. I suggest that Conservative Members should give way to more women"

Not giving way because he's a man? I was hoping that she would want to interrupt one of the male speakers further into the debate and be given the same reason (because she's a woman) but unfortunately she left the chamber not long into the debate.

The 91% referred to the percentage of Conservative male MPs over their female counterparts. She wasn't wrong about the statistic and it will be improved in the next Parliament, but her tone to open what could have become cross party support over so many important issues, was contemptible.

Apart from Ms Harman, there were many excellent speeches from both sides of the house, including some extremely generous compliments to the newly elected CWO President, and former Chairman, Fiona Hodgson, and to the work done by the CWO. These came from Alistair Burt, Eleanor Laing and Brooks Newmark.

1 comment:

Eve Burt said...

Ms Harman needs to assess how she feels about her own gender and along with some other women in her Party get over their paranoia about our first women Prime Minister. Mark Pritchard and Nigel Evans always jump in to be chief goaders on these occasions, and a smart person would have found by now (after all she’s been around a long time) a quick remark that settled the pack. But no, she rose to the bait and gave them what they wanted – a rant that really did not do the lady justice – or ANY of us for that matter. Mrs T may not have burnt her bra (!) and bought in women friendly policies, but maybe that was because she was spending her time on getting the country back on its feet for all. And actually only time will tell how much she affected women coming into politics – there are a lot of candidates out there who will tell you that their formative years were under Mrs T, and they saw a reason to fight for the cause – and that goes for our left wing sisters as well.