Webchat on women and politics, with Nicky Morgan, Jo Swinson and Gloria De Piero: Tuesday June 24, 1pm

(136 Posts)

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RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 23-Jun-14 09:22:33


Hopefully lots of you will have seen coverage of our political culture survey over the weekend.

We asked 1200 of you what you thought about Westminster culture, and overwhelmingly you told us that you think that it's sexist, it's not family-friendly, and that to get on in politics you have to be ruthless, ambitious, rich, well-connected and - last but not least - male.

You also told us that you think the political culture in Westminster doesn't lead to politicians being able to take effective decisions about policies that will change people's lives for the better. And you told us that most of you (around two-thirds) would never consider standing for political office.

We're going to be having a webchat on Tuesday at 1pm to discuss the findings with the women's ministers/shadow minister from the three main parties:

Nicky Morgan is the Conservative MP for Loughborough, and is the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Women's Minister

Jo Swinson is the Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, and is the Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations and the junior Equalities Minister

Gloria De Piero is the Labour MP for Ashfield and Shadow Minister for Women and Equality.

Please join us on Tuesday at 1pm - and if you can't make it then, as ever, please post up any comments or questions in advance.



OP’s posts: |
bambino37 Mon 23-Jun-14 11:00:38

Shirley williams was a likely lass but in the end disappointed.

lisbapalea Mon 23-Jun-14 14:40:37

My main issue with political culture is the pathetic example that is set to those people who should be inspired by the leaders of our country.

As the majority of politicians on our screens are male, the feeling that we are being run by overgrown, overpriveliged schoolboys who spend their time taking pleasure in squabbling with each other is hard to shift.

My 4yo daughter listens to the radio with me and often asks questions like 'who is David Cameron' or 'what's a prime minister'. I tell her that a PM is someone we choose to help make the best decisions over what happens to schools and hospitals etc.

That may be a simplistic view on politics but I do think it's the simple stuff that appears to be forgotten by those with the power at their fingertips, and they in fact prefer to bicker over party differences and act like school children to the point when a speaker has to pull them into line, so they show no sign of actually giving a damn about the people they're supposed to represent. The voters have obviously become frustrated and far too many are now starting to be seduced by odious types such as Farage who is cashing on in this disillusionment and putting on his awful 'man of the people' pretence in the hope that he can pull the wool over people's eyes and get to the top through luck more than anything else.

My main point I suppose is that good leaders do and can exist in various walks of life but they just seem to be absent in politics at the moment. I have worked with some great bosses in my working life (male and female) and I have been inspired and impressed by those at the top.

I just wish we had a chance of genuinely feeling inspired by those at the top of UK Govt, whether they are male or female, and that we could trust that they really are looking out for the country's best interests, rather than their own pathetic ambition to put someone down in the House of Commons with a pithy one liner.

That is the only way that young people will ever start to care about politics and get off their backsides and decide to vote.

Sorry if this misses the 'women in politics' angle but I wanted to get it off my chest!

Crumblemum Mon 23-Jun-14 15:28:41

OK so the problem is pretty well documented. Politicians by and large (present company excepted) just aren't that attractive. They don't seem to know much about everyday life, but at the same time seem to think they know EVERYTHING. They either seem to be not-listening or shouting.

The problems seem so entrenched it will take a long time to improve (sorry to be pessimistic) but what one thing do you think could improve the situation?

Frances5050 Mon 23-Jun-14 16:13:31

"Outdated, ruthless, rich and male: that is women’s overwhelming and damning view of Westminster", according to Mumsnet's survey. Crumblemum asks "What one thing could we do to improve the situation?"

Here's one thing: take a look at www.5050parliament.co.uk to campaign for debate and take action to bring about real change.

Darkesteyes Mon 23-Jun-14 16:48:18

Slightly off topic but because decisions made in Parliament ,affect peoples lives all politicians should be made to undergo a psychological assessment prior to election.

TeWiSavesTheDay Mon 23-Jun-14 16:51:04

I'd like to know how each of you got your jobs, and what steps you'd recommend women who'd like to get more involved and maybe stand to be an MP themselves?

I don't know anyone who has had a job in politics personally.


Frances5050 Mon 23-Jun-14 16:52:59

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

badooby Mon 23-Jun-14 16:59:26

Hello - thank you for coming on.

PMQs embarrasses me. Does it embarrass you?

Frances5050 Mon 23-Jun-14 17:04:43

Question for Nicky Morgan, Jo Swinson and Gloria De Piero:

How can we get 178 more women MPs in the House of Commons?

(From a population of 32 million women, AIBU?)

This would make for a more balanced, representative 50:50 Parliament, instead of the current 77:23. This Apolitical Aspiration is shared by men and women. See photo of Ben Bradshaw MP.

Frances5050 Mon 23-Jun-14 17:23:43

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Darkesteyes Mon 23-Jun-14 17:26:49

Hello to all of you. (sorry I didn't put that in my last post)
Gloria I would like to address this to you as I read your interview in the April issue of Red magazine about how you felt the only way to get out of poverty at 15 was to pose for pictures.
There are many women both young and older who feel that the sex industry is the only route available out of poverty.
In 2000 I was on Labours New Deal After completing 3 months workfare which was a combination of a placement at a charity shop and one at the local council those "lovely people" at Pelcombe (the full ND was overseen by Reed) they wanted me to do yet ANOTHER 3 months workfare at a soup factory. I found an advert for a job in a sex chatline office and took it. Not everyone can cope with it and I did spend the first 3 days in a state of high anxiety but after that I settled into it and made some great friends in the other young women who were working there.
That was a long time ago but I have had discussions on threads with someone who has exited the industry and she says the uptake has surged since 2010.
This is one of the reasons why I CANNOT get on board with this idea of stricter benefits rules for those aged between 18 and 21.
It will also be harsher on young children who are exiting the care system.

Gloria I thought you came across well in the Red interview and the photographer who took advantage of your situation should have bloody well been prosecuted You were under age.

Unfortunately I think there are many more like him and worse out there who will be ready to take advantage (and are already taking advantage) of people being affected by these kinds of policies.

The chatline office job is still the highest paid job ive ever had. Which says it all really!

Darkesteyes Mon 23-Jun-14 17:29:03

Sorry I meant young adults who are exiting the care system.

stillstandingatthebusstop Mon 23-Jun-14 17:35:18

Hi there

I see a problem with politics seeming irrelevant and somehow distant from young people. For example, ds1 has just turned 18, and didn't not intend to vote in the May elections, until I got mad and talked about how different it was in the not so distant past and how lucky he is to have a vote etc So my question is, how can political parties make politics more relevant to young people?

Another off topic question grin

BarbarianMum Mon 23-Jun-14 17:52:53

Why is PMQ allowed to proceed in the way it does (buffoonery, jeering)? How can any normal woman engage with that?

TheStandard Mon 23-Jun-14 18:13:18

This is one for Jo and Nicky really.

Labour has already made big strides with women's representation through all-women shortlists.

Do you (Jo and Nicky) personally agree with that as a way of increasing women's presence as MPs?

If not, what measures do you think should be taken? (Or do you not think anything should be done?)

What are your parties currently doing to increase the numbers of female MPs? Both LibDems and Tories have pretty lamentable records on this.

stillstandingatthebusstop Mon 23-Jun-14 18:39:50

For Jo Swinson

The Liberal Democrat Party must have real problems being credible with women voters after the recent Lord Rennard scandal.

How can I vote for a party that does not react strongly when it's women activists are reported to be being sexually harassed?

AndHarry Mon 23-Jun-14 18:43:52

I'd love to work towards standing as an MP but am totally put off by the crazy working hours. Do you think it would be a good idea to have more normal working hours and holidays?

CarolineWheatley Mon 23-Jun-14 18:47:49

Do you think that party politics incentivises politicians to act in the short-term interests of their own progress in the party and not in the long-term interests of the population as a whole?

What would you change (whether you agree or not with the above there must be something) to increase the incentives to act for the greater good in the long term?

orangeone Mon 23-Jun-14 18:48:31

1. PMQ - really what's the point? A bunch of children booing and jeering at each other in a way that I spend most of my day encouraging my pre-schooler not to do?

2. Do you think that politicians should have limited terms in office? This reduces 'career politicians', ensures that they have to do a 'normal job' at some point so can represent the general population better, and may specifically open the doors to more women (perhaps being more family friendly as to serve in parliament becomes something you do for a limited time so can cope with crazy hours?

charlieandlola Mon 23-Jun-14 18:58:55

At least two of you are mothers to under 5's , am I right ? An MP seems incompatible with family life.?
My friends husband is an MP and they rarely have a weekend when he is home uninterrupted and then Sunday night to Thursday he is in London.
School holidays he is at home but often travels abroad and around the country. They had to fly back last summer from their only holiday week in France as MPs were summoned home.he has missed all his kids birthdays for the last 4 years. They get shouted at in the street and their eldest is being bullied at school because of his dad's job.
I expect his wife to leave him shortly as she feels utterly abandoned and tells me that he is a virtual stranger to her.

Is this a true representation or is she making it all up ?

It all sounds grim and if true then why would women put themselves through that, abandon their family to be shouted at on Newsnight, jeered in the chamber and abused in the street and online ?

frizzcat Mon 23-Jun-14 19:13:33

Agree with the poster who wrote about the buffoonery around PM question time. This occurs throughout political debate, sound bites, that no doubt have the marketing and PR teams slapping each other on the back.

Lack of responsibility from all MP's, attempting clever word play - "well if you listened to David Cameron he didn't actually apologise" blah blah blah.

Westminister is not for women? And certainly not for women with families. Having studied Politics, I knew about the gruelling work schedule of MP's. Oona King has also written about the sexism and the fact that if you choose life as an MP, you don't have time for family. This happens in lots of jobs, but shouldn't Westminister be leading the way in flexible working, home working why do all these MP's need to be in Westminister, we have bloody skype and all rhese other things that mean, second homes wouldnt be needed! Child care arrangements such as in- work crèches, they have examples of this working in Europe, with a high rate of working mothers, which is great for the economy, but also for Politics. Imagine the female interest if these things were in place?

Quivering Mon 23-Jun-14 19:26:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DoItTooJulia Mon 23-Jun-14 20:00:54

I think that this contributes to why women are put off a career in parliament.

I read this and I am horrified he has kept his job. How do you try to encourage women into a career when their colleagues behave like this and their boss minimises it?

Breaking the rules, I do have a second question.

What single measure could be taken to increase women in politics, in your opinion?

WestmorlandSausage Mon 23-Jun-14 20:11:48

my one question (although I have many!)

Which party do you think will be the next to have a female leader or female chancellor of the exchequer?

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