Gender equality in politics cannot be ensured through discrimination

16 Jul 2014

 

With David Cameron reshuffling his cabinet to introduce a greater gender balance, there are still those who think we don't have enough women in British politics. We now have Labour introducing all women shortlists, in an attempt to try and get more women involved. To me, that's just as discriminative against men. Going from one extreme to another isn't going to solve the issue. Women standing side by side with men, and proving they are the better choice, is the most effective way to guarantee equal gender participation in polu

 

Today I read that there are more women in politics in Iraq than there are women in politics in the UK. This seems logical, given the injustice women suffer on a day-to-day basis in the Middle East. In Iraq, women are stoned to death for being raped, girls are married off to middle aged men from ages as low as five. Children as young as nine are dying in labour whilst giving birth.

Here in Britain, we have free speech, we can marry who we want, whether it be a man of a different culture, or another woman. We can become Prime Minister, MPs, councillors, stay at home mothers, working mothers, or not become mothers at all.

I do realise sexism still exists here in Britain, as I have encountered it many times myself, but I don't let it get to me. Instead, I work harder to prove my worth, gain their respect, and in some cases, have become their boss.

The few women who have stepped up to the plate have done so with gusto, and gained the respect of some notorious men, and here are my idols who have done just that:

Margaret Thatcher - Our first, and, so far, only woman Prime Minister. She stuck to her convictions, believed in what she said and did, had pride in her country, and a passion for a better Britain.

Mo Mowlam - Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, instrumental in the Good Friday Agreement. It took a woman, who was dying of a brain tumour, to take off her wig and shut two grown men up. Another lady with strong convictions, who stuck by them whether you agreed with her politically or not.

Theresa May - Longest running Home Secretary since Michael Howard left in 1997, not to mention the first woman to hold the position. She has since got rid of a notorious terrorists such as Abu Hamsa, and Abu Qatada. Another who stands by her convictions, and has shown men how it should be done!

None of these three women used the "but I'm a woman" line to get to the top, they all worked hard, if not harder than most, and have done a damn sight better job than most men could.

We don't need all women shortlists. In fact, having an all women shortlist is just as discriminative as an all male shortlist. If we want equality, let's stand shoulder to shoulder with the men, and prove we are the better choice.

We women have a proud history, the suffragettes fighting for our right to vote, or not vote, is just one example of that.

We have monarchs such as Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, and our current Queen Elizabeth II. All strong headed women, who have led our country with pride, showing up the Kings of other countries.

Men and women are not equal, we can do things they can't and vice versa. But the things we can do equally, let's do them better, not bitter!

By Rebecca Sword

 

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