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To think more women should get involved in politics

(30 Posts)
OhLori Thu 18-Apr-13 13:00:42

Many of the posts on MN make me think that anyway.

(Nothing to do with Thatcher funeral, I've been thinking this for some time.)

JustinBsMum Thu 18-Apr-13 13:02:41

Hmmmm, thinking of the rather more extreme views often posted on here are you sure it's a good idea??

OhLori Thu 18-Apr-13 13:03:08


ElleMcFearsome Thu 18-Apr-13 13:06:21

I'm doing a PPE degree, so I consider myself involved to some extent smile

If you mean 'professionally' involved, i.e. being a policy wonk or a minister - no thanks. It's very difficult, a big like Big Brother; anyone who wants to do is should automatically be disqualified! However, like heart surgeons, I'm glad there are people out there who want the job (not comparing the two in any meaningful sense - just two jobs that I wouldn't want!)

I think many politicians start out with a vision, an ideology, call it what you will, but the real inability to make changes grinds people down. Add to that the London-centricness of politics, which requires you to be in the City regularly, the long hours and the lack of thanks grin

Then add the additional grief of being a female politician, the attention paid to how you look cf: Hilary Clinton, as often in the media spotlight for her appearance as her policies and the whole thing sounds unpleasant to me.

OhLori Thu 18-Apr-13 13:11:35

But don't people need an arena where they can think, argue, and engage their passions, and feel listened to? Not necessarily to do with ideology, although that is one vehicle I guess (sometimes a dangerous one). I read that once and I believe that it is one aspect of politics which is important.

JustinBsMum Thu 18-Apr-13 13:19:18

Perhaps a political blog or thread on MN where people put their own names to what they write, or at least could be contacted if the reader wished. Because the anonymity of the internet means that people can rant without facing the consequences.

So that posters could post their beliefs or recommendations for changes in law, or whatever, in a more responsible way than just a post on a thread. And others could reply, also not anonymously, and perhaps some good ideas could be put forward.

Some newspapers and bloggers do read (or claim to read mn) so perhaps that would be a way politics could be influenced without devoting your whole life to it.

PeterParkerSays Thu 18-Apr-13 13:28:53

I'd love to see more women in politics, any chance of getting rid of the public school boys to make room for them though? I'm not talking about the imbalance in MPs, but in the heckling, old boys network etc.

This isa piece by Oonagh King on her life in politics. (Warning it's DM - sorry!!)

Not sure if it's her or another female MP (or both) who stood up in the House of Commons to speak and was drowned out by male Tory MPs shouting "melons" at her. Why would women go into politics when they have to put up with this sort of crap from their male "colleagues"? If a man in my office tried something similar in a meeting, he'd be on a final warning s fast his bloody feet wouldn't touch the ground. It's jsut so outdated and offensive.

FannyFifer Thu 18-Apr-13 13:38:56

A lot more women in Scottish politics, Leaders of both Labour & Tory are female, also Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Not forgetting female Presiding Officer & also one of the Deputies as well.

ElleMcFearsome Thu 18-Apr-13 13:39:31

I think there are spaces where people can engage. There are numerous political blogs out there - Political Betting being an interesting and party neutral space, Foreign Policy being another.

I think one of the main issues with political debate and discourse, in most spaces, is that it's very easy for a person with an agenda, whether that's left, right or conspiracy based, to continuously y de-rail and close down debate. It's that 'I'm right and if you don't agree then you're wrong' mentality that's quite tiring to engage with.

That said, a political 'channel' for MN would be something that I completely supported!

FannyFifer Thu 18-Apr-13 13:40:26

Couldn't imagine anyone behaving in a derogatory manner to female MSP's in the chamber of Scottish Parliament like they do at Westminster, it just wouldn't be tolerated.

ElleMcFearsome Thu 18-Apr-13 13:42:48

Sounds like what we should be aiming for Fanny. Any thoughts on what happened to make it better?

Fargo86 Thu 18-Apr-13 13:43:58

Unfortunately not that many women are interested in politics for whatever reason.

FannyFifer Thu 18-Apr-13 13:46:15

I think as its not like the old public schoolboy nonsense in Westminster, a modern building for modern politicians.
There are MSP's from all variety of backgrounds.

FannyFifer Thu 18-Apr-13 13:47:33

Think the Welsh Parliament also has a better female representation, sure their Presiding officer is Female as well.

ElleMcFearsome Thu 18-Apr-13 13:48:37

Fargo - do you think disinterest is more common in women than in men? In the personal political arena, I mean, not professionally? I'm not clear on whether there is a significant difference in voter gender etc - I must go and Google! However, in my experience, there are far fewer people interested in politics than are completely disinterested and I'm not sure that my experience suggests there is a gender bias either way.

Fargo86 Thu 18-Apr-13 13:50:36

I think so. Very few women buy the serious newspapers that cover politics. Very few women I know ever talk about politics in any kind of depth whatsoever.

ElleMcFearsome Thu 18-Apr-13 13:54:38

Right, voter behaviour by gender 2010 here, shows no significant difference in gender. 65% turnout overall, 66% men, 65% women. Seems like age is a much stronger indicator of turnout.

FannyFifer Thu 18-Apr-13 13:55:08

22% of MPs compared to 34.8% of MSP's are female.

Still not great but, women are a lot more prominent in Scots Parliament.

JustinBsMum Thu 18-Apr-13 15:02:56

Very few women buy the serious newspapers that cover politics. Very few women I know ever talk about politics in any kind of depth whatsoever
Very many men buy the Sun, and very many men only ever talk about football.

Non-etonian-type politicians often seem to have a family member, often a father, who was in politics or a union or something which gave them the interest. Or is sometimes a second generation immigrant so maybe used to the idea of striving to improve lives.

The north south divide in female politicians is interesting. I would like to say that northern women are more feisty but will no doubt be lambasted for that.

Fargo86 Thu 18-Apr-13 15:06:07

More men buy the broadsheets than women.

Most people don't buy newspapers at all.

I think having kids gets in the way of getting into politics for a lot of women. Or even being interested in politics beyond a very superficial level.

slug Thu 18-Apr-13 16:37:59

Where's the evidence that more men buy broadsheets than women?

HollyBerryBush Thu 18-Apr-13 16:56:09

Loving policy wonk grin

A view that won't make me popular, but unless you have a comprehensive family support network OR earn a lot of money that can afford anti-social hours childcare, it is very difficult to maintain any career where you have aspirations.

That said, politics isn't always a young persons game. No reason why a 40 something person, once the children are self sufficient and off to uni etc cannot become more heavily involved in local politic and that may lead on to national politics.

We only have one councillor local, who happens to be female, who isn't a coffin dodger! Did have a nice young boy man of 24 but I guess he probably found himself a proper job grin and settled down and lets face it, running your kids to swimming club is probably more exciting that sitting in stuffy council meetings at night discussing urban planning and wheelie bins!

OhLori Sat 20-Apr-13 16:35:45

I have to say I was a little surprised by the response in some ways.

I think most of my female friends and aquaintances are political, even if they don't always (or ever) read broadsheets. They may not be party-political exactly, but political nonetheless. And whilst I am sure councils do discuss wheelie bins, they also do discuss vital and passionate matters.

I have been especially curious reading the thread on Gove's plans for education. It seems to me to be teeming with political thought, ideas, and experience but no power.

Hassled Sat 20-Apr-13 16:39:24

I think everyone should be more involved in politics, regardless of gender. I'm involved in local politics insomuch as I'm a member of a party and go to meetings sometimes. I enjoy it - you meet interesting people, you feel you are part of the community - and I don't really feel there's a gender bias at local level.

SamuelWestsMistress Sat 20-Apr-13 16:48:47

I wish there were. There would be a lot less suffering and war in the world if more women were in charge.

Never going to happen though.

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