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The 300 Group- women in politics- still a hidden struggle?

123 replies

EachPeachPearMum · 13/06/2009 00:20

The 300 Group- an all party campaign for women in parliament, politics and public life.
Do you think there is a place for a group like this nowadays? Should women in politics be on the agenda in electoral reform?
(Were you even aware it had folded? I wasn't... but I am hardly up-to-date on these matters)

Should we be supporting and promoting women's entry into politics? Is it necessary? Is it unfair?

Would greater numbers of female politicians lead to an increase in awareness of issues that affect women or improved legislation?

There isn't even a wiki page for the 300 group - which I find astonishing...
though I have found a few useful links on google:

Piece about the founding of the 300 group

Evidence given by Lesley Abdela to parliament on female representation- May 2009

Lesley Abdela in the Guardian last year

OP posts:
LeninGrad · 13/06/2009 15:15

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 15:20

yes global improvements and structural political change for all

not just women and not tokenistic action for select groups.
no discrimination is positive
equality of access to employment and education

the misplaced perception that some groups in society eg women,minorities get a helping hand over the "ordinary" man has lead to a growing disaffection amongst a large amount of voters who feel displaced and vote BNP

policywonk · 13/06/2009 15:22

Discrimination is absolutely positive if it redresses negative discrimination. If you acknowledge the existence of the latter then how can you object to the former?

And to blame positive discrimination for fascism is really wrong-headed IMO. There are many complex reasons for the rise of the BNP, but all-women shortlists are very far down the list.

scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 15:26

not at all,to promote one persons need you are forgoing another's,cherrypicking little causes.deserving and undeserving

discrimination is never positive and no amount of quasi-social science worthy spin can ever sanitise discrimination

always leaves a taint of only got post because of AA

Swedes · 13/06/2009 15:28

I really can't believe how unrepresented women are. There is really only one way to solve it and that's for women to only vote for female candidates until there is greater representation. Perhaps Mumsnet could field a candidate in all seats? And be willing to drop out if the three main parties all field female candidates.

And if men aren't going to properly share the responsiblity of childbearing and rearing (and that includes their employer bearing half the responsibility for maternity benefits), perhaps we should seriously consider only carrying and giving birth to female babies?

Ewe · 13/06/2009 15:29

But those professions don't particularly attract women/mothers either, politics isn't going to attract most women until something changes. Vast majority of the armed forces are men for this very reason. Ditto most of the City banks.

Yes, there are other organisations/industries that need to do the same but we are talking specifically about politics and why women in politics is still not common.

scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 15:32

i cant believe some of you are so hung upn gender

i intellectualise,consider and chose my MP upon ability not gender.i have absolutely no alignment or preference to someone because they happen to be female

ropey ground

so if it is alright to promote and positively discriminate for a gender,so can one do so on basis of

if that happens to be someone else preference

Ewe · 13/06/2009 15:35

You might intellectualise and chose upon ability but I don't necessarily think that means everyone else does!

I think there are plenty of misogynists out there who would actively choose not to vote for a woman, regardless of competency.

scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 15:39

yes and plenty similarly prejudiced women who advocate voting female only

flip sides of same coin

you cannot embrace prejudice and discrimination and try but it on a leash as your wee tool.that is deluded to think you can sanitise and use prejudice and discrimination as agents of change

anyway you look at it
men only voting men
women only voting women
discriminatory bag o shite

Ewe · 13/06/2009 15:44

The motives behind women only voting women and men only voting men are very different though.

Isn't the point of positive discrimination, over time, to make it so that people do vote on competencies and not gender because women being in politics would become the norm?

If nothing changes, then how will this happen?

scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 15:48

ah i see you vote prejudicially to instigate positive change and well-being

crock of shite

keep kidding yourself on that you can harness prejudice and discrimination as agents of good and social change

it is prejudicial and favouritism to only have wimmin voting wimmin

god save us

hey was MThatcher,one of the sisters then.presumably you'd be compelled top vote for her if she were around

Ewe · 13/06/2009 15:55

Are you responding to me? If so, please read my post again!

I asked two questions, said nothing about how I vote, or whether or not I agreed or disagreed with positive discrimination.


scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 16:02

ewe i am responding to globally the thread and specifically to

"There is really only one way to solve it and that's for women to only vote for female candidates until there is greater representation."

policywonk · 13/06/2009 16:21

I'm not hung up on gender; I'm hung up on fairness.

Women have been, and continue to be, discriminated against. Quotas are the single most powerful weapon in the anti-discrimination armoury.

Discrimination is not a 'bad', you know. You poresumably discriminated when you chose your partner, or your job, or your friends. It's a perfectly legitimate tactic.

As for the taint of AA - I bet it doesn't keep Colin Powell awake at night, or any of his millions of co-beneficiaries. Because it's not unfair; it's fair.

scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 16:28

if you advocate fairness how can you use discrimination in your armoury?

you cannot sanitise discrimination or spin it as a positive agent for social change

the taint left is the accusation that positive discrimination places inadequate but pc groups into roles

policywonk · 13/06/2009 16:32

Do you know which parliament, globally, has the highest proportion of female MPs? It's Rwanda. They use quotas there. Will be interesting to see whether massively significant policy and development issues such as maternal mortality, abortion provision, anti-sexual and domestic violence measures, female education, female business start-ups etc etc make fast progress in Rwanda over the next few years. My guess is that they will.

policywonk · 13/06/2009 16:35

I can spin it as precisely that, SM, because it's true.

Positive discrimination reduces unfairness. It's as simple as that.

I can't see for the life of me why you're so unwilling to admit the context (massive historical and ongoing anti-female discrimination). It's impossible to have a sensible discussion about this if you don't admit the context.

We're not starting from a position of parity. We're starting from a position of ingrained, continuing disparity. Positive discrimination reduces the disparity.

I don't think I can put it any more plainly than that.

If disparity doesn't bother you, fair enough. But it's pointless to argue that positive discrimination is anything other than fair.

scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 16:35

saw a documentary once zealots who set up wimmin only commune

naturally no men
no male children
espousing liberalism no misogynist ways
egalitarian values

ah sisterhood a wonderful thing.alh gerls together

naturally all the loons fell out big time
all women were equal but some women were more equal than others

scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 16:36

you cant polish a turd
you cant sanitise discrimination
kind of obvious

scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 16:44

i dont share the belief that more women in politics is necessarily positive or will promote or facilitate social or political change

why should that be so

women are not a homogeneous mass,with shared values and ethos.nor do all women conceptualise the same needs or identify same priorities

are greater predictors of shared values then gender

maybe what does women a disservice is the belief that we naturally gravitate or should be aligned to other females.because of gender

policywonk · 13/06/2009 16:52

Fair enough - if you're not bothered about redressing historical unfairness, you're not bothered.

But again: discrimination is not a turd. It is the application of judgement. It is not, in itself, a bad thing.

It becomes a bad thing when a society or culture appropriates a specific type of discrimination and applies it against a disadvantaged group. And white men (ie 80 per cent of MPs) are in no way a disadvantaged group.

scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 16:58

PW why must you infer i don't care because i don't share your beleiefs

slightly patronising to assert i am bereft of passion about inequality because i don't favour your .which incidentally isn't only way

it is hackneyed and corny to say ah well if you dont care enough.....oh what not care enough likey you?

so ease up on the snide remarks


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ThingOne · 13/06/2009 17:03

I'm not a fan of all women shortlists but there is a huge amount of discrimination against women in politics. Parliamentary candidates are vetted, trained and approved by the parties nationally. These processes are relatively fair to people from any background.

The problem comes when you get to the selection for an individual seat. Then the local party members get to choose who they want to represent them. Despite many efforts from all parties a huge number of these people still see a future MP as a white be-suited man in his mid-thirties to mid-forties, married with a lovely wife and preferably some children. They seem to have this view in their head and anybody who doesn't fit this model is starting with a disadvantage.

I've talked to many women involved in selection processes over the years. They get a hard time for having children (should be looking after them) or for not having children (hard career woman, not natural). They get a hard time for being married (your poor husband) or not being married (a bit odd). They get told they are too young to have enough experience if they stand before they have babies or too old if they wait until they are older. They get upbraided for wearing clothes that are too bright or too sombre. I had one friend who was told both in one selection campaign.

I could go on and on.

scottishmummy · 13/06/2009 17:07

perhaps remove the selection panel,widen the criteria.

perhaps all party members able to vote upion candidates
perhaps local constituency residents vote for candidates irrespective of party membership

ThingOne · 13/06/2009 17:15

The parties have, in general, managed to beat the selection panels around the head about being fair, but they cannot change every local member. The local selection panels tend to sift through all applicants and decide which few to put forward for a vote amongst party/TU members.

The Tories have tried imposing candidates, and have tried "primaries" where any local resident could vote but these moves have not been hugely successful. The Labour party has imposed candidates and it's always unpopular.

I don't know what the answer is. I worked on this for years before children and thought I had some answers. But I'm royally fucked off about it all now.

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