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Jo Swinson MP: Live webchat, Wednesday 6 November, 1.00 - 2.00PM

(74 Posts)
KateHMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 01-Nov-13 16:08:51

We'll be welcoming Lib Dem MP and Women and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson this Wednesday from 1pm - 2pm for a live webchat on body confidence.

As Minister for Women and Equalities Jo heads up the Government's Body Confidence Campaign. The campaign has been active since 2010 and works with the media, advertising, retail and fashion industries to encourage more diverse and realistic representation of human bodies.

She has campaigned on this issue for many years and is especially interested in your questions on the issue; have you, or your children, experienced low body confidence? What do you think can be done about it?

Come and chat to Jo on Wednesday lunchtime or post a question in advance on this thread.


BoffinMum Fri 01-Nov-13 18:51:03

Hello Jo,

Do you think it's essentially patronising to women, the 21st century existence of posts such as 'Women's Minister'?


NumTumRedRum Sat 02-Nov-13 18:47:18

What is your view on the recent decimation of legal aid availability which has a disproportionate impact on women, and renders large swathes of people unable to access legal advice and representation on divorce and separation, which has a knock on effect on society at large and children in particular?

Want2bSupermum Sat 02-Nov-13 21:40:54

What is your stand on supporting families where both parents wish to work?

Currently there are many women who are pushed into part time or staying home to raise their children as the family can't afford to take the short term hit to the income of the lower income person (which is most often the woman). You then end up with an inequality of the one person staying home through necessity, not choice.

I also think childcare costs should be fully tax deductible for two income families. With the current laws there is double taxation which creates an inefficency and inequality. If the double taxation was removed I am sure many women would continue to work full time after having children. Most woman stop working after the 2nd child arrives.

WithRedWine Sun 03-Nov-13 14:27:57

You are part of a government which is steadily, doggedly and shamelessly appropriating public money for private financial gain. This is top-down class warfare on an epic scale.

How do you sleep at night?

Lovescourgettes Sun 03-Nov-13 15:12:10

Why is Government allowing the decimation of local Trading Standards in terms of horrific budget cuts and now reducing powers of entry for Trading Standards Officers? Surely this is can only result in rogue traders and unscrupulous businesses taking advantage of the most vulnerable consumers in the poorest bargaining position who are probably already financially disadvantaged and trying to make ends meet? What is your solution?

fosterwallace Mon 04-Nov-13 11:36:51

How do you feel, as Equality Minister, about being in a Government who have implemented cuts which have disproportionately affected women?

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Mon 04-Nov-13 11:56:08

"How do you feel, as Equality Minister, about being in a Government who have implemented cuts which have disproportionately affected women?"

This ^

IamInvisible Mon 04-Nov-13 12:03:48

Does it not prick your conscience being part of such a cruel Government? As my 18yo DS says, you are weak when it comes to the strong, yet strong when it comes to the weak!

How can you be part of something that is so cruelly hitting the sick, disabled and poor, when rich people are still gaining, and keep your head held high?

Devora Mon 04-Nov-13 14:25:45

In yesterday's Observer, there was this subheading: "In a world that considers all women physically flawed, we need less angst and more anger". Do you agree that women should be getting angry about the cultural pressures heaped upon us and our daughters? How does the Government intend to help, and what should parents be doing?

scallopsrmissingAnyFucker Mon 04-Nov-13 16:21:50

How do you think that the government can he support new DPP Alison Saunders in classifying violence against women as a hate crime, reducing it and getting prosecutions for FGM?

bishbashboosh Mon 04-Nov-13 18:41:41


As someone who has suffered eating disorders and low body confidence in the past, I really feel what has helped me is exercise, especially for self esteem.

Everything I hear from the government is about food, healthy start, 5 a day...

What do you think about the time given to physical education on the a national Curriculum? Should children be encouraged more to be fit and strong, rather than a specific bmi?

domesticslattern Mon 04-Nov-13 20:03:53

Hello Jo
Thank you for coming to MN. While body confidence is of course a very real issue, I'm a bit disappointed that it is seemingly top of your brief. What about the impact of housing policies, education policies, economic policies, public sector policies (for example) on women. I would much rather you spent your time on those issues than on Heat magazine's circle of shame. Or is it that they are a bit more challenging?

Boiing Mon 04-Nov-13 21:30:45

Hello Jo, I am quitting work because my civil service manager salary doesn't cover the cost of childcare for 2 children plus a commute. Most other women I know have the same problem and are also leaving work. A huge number of women are being forced into being housewives because of the imbalance between stagnating/frozen salaries and rising childcare/commute costs. It's also means long term the Government loses out on their income tax.

What are you going to do to address this? For example ending double taxation... making childcare/commute entirely tax deductible... Ending the rule that you have to pay nanny tax and national insurance on top of Nancy's salary...

louise88uk Tue 05-Nov-13 10:40:37

For two income families? I think lone parent families should receive this since there's only one bread winner!

motherinferior Tue 05-Nov-13 12:08:13

I'm interested in whether public health campaigns - which this, in its broadest sense, is - can work in the UK. They've had demonstrable effects in other countries (Finland, I think, is the most notable one) but I think there is a greater distrust of what is perceived as 'nannying' in the culture of the UK. What do you think?

Queenie50 Tue 05-Nov-13 13:24:53

My daughter is 9, happy healthy and plump. She is already aware that she isn't she shape she 'ought to be'. How do we change a culture?

Mmelindor Tue 05-Nov-13 14:39:33

Hello Jo.

To add to MotherInferior's excellent question - how do we promote body confidence in a positive way?

I have an 11yr old daughter who recently chose her pizza based on the calorie count displayed on the menu.

It made me realise how prominently nutritional information is displayed on some products, even those aimed at children.

While I see the need for information, I worry that the message being sent is one of 'good food' and bad food', which then leads to a child feeling guilty for eating the 'bad food'.

Kids have their lunch boxes searched and BAD food pointed out to them - and some schools are very strict with the food that they allow to be brought to school.

How do we promote healthy eating in a way that doesn't demonise selected food groups?

Jeanius Tue 05-Nov-13 16:52:33

I have developed a new advertising platform that will help people find clothes that fit, solves the issue of vanity sizing and promotes body confidence. The website is

I would like to get involved with the campaign, and am also interested in obtaining the kitemark mentioned in the APPG report on Body Image.

I have emailed/written/tweeted the APPG on Body Image, Jo Swinson, and Rosie Prescott on numerous occasion but with no response.

Why, when I am so eager to help, and have a real solution to some of the problems, have I not heard anything?

prettybird Tue 05-Nov-13 18:44:15

I agree MmeLindor. My ds (13) is already starting to reuse to eat some meat because it's "fatty" and not understanding how how all food needs to be seen in context and that some fat is good for you (and especially for a highly active child) and even required for brain development.

It is not helped by Glasgow schools sending home advice for packed lunches telling parents to give their children low day yoghurts angry and no cakes - but then starting to sell muffins/cakes, defending it by saying they didn't have sugar only fruit juice to sweeten them angryangry fructose is as bad as sucrose

BoffinMum Tue 05-Nov-13 19:50:43

Children of normal weight for their heights really shouldn't be eating low fat processed food or diet foods. The production process is particularly aggressive and these foods are consequently not sufficiently nutritious compared to their more simply produced, full fat counterparts. THerefore this advice is inappropriate. They would be a lot better off having an anti-sugar offensive, on dental health grounds if nothing else. You can completely remove refined sugar from a child's diet with no adverse outcome, but arbitrarily reducing or removing fat has all sorts of unintended consequences, as has been pointed out on this thread and elsewhere on MN.

IamInvisible Tue 05-Nov-13 20:09:10

I agree with MmeLindor too. When Jamie Oliver was doing his thing with school dinners and 'bad foods' were being pointed out in lunch boxes, my very tall DS1 almost developed an eating disorder, because he was too scared to eat X because it was fat and Y because of sugar. Fortunately we could address it and deal with it, but I dread to think what could have happened.

prettybird Tue 05-Nov-13 20:09:44

For "low day" read "low fat " blush - blame predictive text. grin

Still pissed off at the crappy "advice" we got - dietary advice aimed at adults rather than active and growing kids hmm

Education Department even made the schools stop the kids' Tuck Shop, which was run by the P7s and only had carefully sourced "healthy" snacks (nuts, rice crackers etc) because Cordia wanted to sell its own cakes and yoghurt icecreams. hmmangry

Dencest Wed 06-Nov-13 04:27:39

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

muddyschoolshoes Wed 06-Nov-13 09:27:58

Once this discussion is over, can you please come back and talk about the lack of part-time jobs in STEM industries and what you're planning to do about it?

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