Behind every successful institution, there are more men in senior positions than women. Pointing that out is redundant of course, because this fact has been obvious for decades. It has also been slowly and steadily improving as well. But redundant as this is, Prime Minister David Cameron has only taken his whole life to realize and to point out to the world that great institutions, companies and governments could be even greater if there were more women in charge.
“My wife likes to say that if you don’t have women in the top places, you are not just missing out on 50% of the talent, you are missing out on a lot more than 50% of the talent – and I think she probably has a point.”
Yes, Mr Prime Minister, your wife is ‘probably’ right, I guess.
Out of 257 Conservative members of parliament, only 47 are female, whilst out of a total of 650 in the whole parliament, only 144 are female. It’s certainly progressive that a white privileged male is saying that women deserve more, but we have known this for years. Thanks for the info, eh?
In 2010 we celebrated the fact that the UK elected the greatest number of women into Parliament ever. The number of female Tory MPs actually doubled, as before they only had a ridiculous 19 female MPs in the House. This ‘greatest’ number ever is still floored by the number of males in a blunt comparison, especially when issues on the table affect the women all over the UK, and women in other countries that look to the UK for an example of government.
Abortion. Riots that were apparently caused by single mothers who can’t raise their children right. Youth unemployment where numbers of women unemployed is much greater than men. And many other issues that don’t concern women directly but that need to have female representatives to debate and vote on them, so that women in the UK can be truly heard.
Cameron’s acknowledgement of this inequality is commendable, and maybe people will take notice of it. But then again, let’s not forget that after 144 women were voted into Parliament in 2010, the Tories were so at loss as to how to tell them apart that they started calling all of them Caroline. Collectively, they demeaned a whole gender that had fought as hard, if not harder, as them to get where they were.
It’s no wonder Labour is beating the Tories when it comes to the women’s vote by seven whole points.
Wait – could there be second intentions in the Prime Minister’s words in favour of women in power? Political advisers have said a Tory win could depend on female votes. Though I would like to believe that Cameron really means it and wants more women in the House, I am struggling to believe his random spur of feminism.
To be fair to the Prime Minister, he did admit to his party’s lack of diversity.
“We have around 50 now. We have made a big change, but it is only 50 out of 300, so it’s not nearly enough, so we need to do more,” he added.
He also admitted he did not appoint enough women to his cabinet, where of the 22 people appointed on four of them are women. But this reshuffle wasn’t even that long ago – it was last September. So why didn’t he make amends to put more women in power five months ago? Has this been a recent realization of his or is it a tactic to gain women’s votes? Inequality of women in power positions isn’t anything new, has he finally been enlightened? It took him long enough. And so what, should we give him a prize for it?
Maybe you mean it, Prime Minister. Maybe you are actually recognizing your party’s mistakes, mistakes that have transcended time and generations. Maybe the Tory party won’t be so very sexist because now you need women to win your seats. But answer me this, Prime Minister – what will happen once you get your votes and you don’t need women any more?
Photo by bisgovuk / Flickr Creative Commons License.