Gender and Politics in the media

UK: Lib Dems could be a ‘men only’ club after 2015. Is Clegg looking at 2020 all-women shortlists? Britain’s steady gender equality decline.

Nick Clegg’s band of Lib Dems could be a ‘men only’ club after 2015 … Lib Dem MPs could be a men-only club at Westminster after the next election, Labour warned yesterday.

Nick Clegg’s tiny band of seven women in his group of 56 MPs all face losing their seats because of their small majorities.

In a fierce attack on the Lib Dem leader, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women, Gloria De Piero, pointed out that his parliamentary party now has as many male MPs with knighthoods as it has females.

The Lib Dems’ former Education Minister, Sarah Teather, announced in September that she will quit her marginal North London seat at the 2015 general election.

And the rest are all at high risk. The two most marginal Lib Dem seats are both held by women MPs.

Is Nick Clegg looking at all-women shortlists for 2020? The Independent Nick Clegg is planning to introduce all-women shortlists for the Liberal Democrats if not enough female candidates are selected in winnable seats in 2015.

The radical policy change, which will upset many activists who believe it would go against the party’s constitution, would be introduced in the next Parliament as many candidates have already been selected for the election in 18 months’ time.

Only 12 per cent of Lib Dem MPs are women, and there are none at all from ethnic minorities. Lib Dem sources said a number of “excellent” female and ethnic minority candidates have already been selected to replace outgoing Lib Dem MPs and in winnable seats for 2015. But if the female tally does not increase dramatically, all-women shortlists will be imposed for the 2020 election.

Britain falls behind best developing countries as gender gap stays …The Guardian Britain’s glass ceiling for women in business and politics means it languishes behind the Nordic countries and some developing nations in the league table of gender equality, according to a report released on Thursday night.

Research by the World Economic Forum found that the UK had failed to improve its 18th place in the rankings following a steady decline from 9th since 2006…

Britain scored well for female literacy and enrolment in post-primary education, but the study highlighted room for improvement in several areas.

The UK came 35th for economic gender equality but was placed 71st for helping women to find professional and technical positions. For political participation, Britain came 54th for getting women into parliament and 59th for securing ministerial jobs.

Although the UK scored highly for education and health and survival, it was ranked 97th for healthy life expectancy for women.

MP Diana Johnson accuses David Cameron of dismissing women’s …Hull Daily Mail HULL: MP Diana Johnson, pictured, has accused the Prime Minster of “dismiss- ing women’s rights” at work after she was left unsatisfied by his response to a Prime Minister’s Question.

Mrs Johnson asked David Cameron if he thought it fair a pregnant woman could have to pay to take a maternity discrimination case to an employment tribunal.

New legislation now means employees only earn rights to take action against a company if they have worked there for a minimum of two years.

Sexism is endemic, says Cambridge University gender equality …Cambridge News Professor Athene Donald, who is Cambridge University’s gender equality champion, said she has encountered a “kind of unconscious putting-down”, such as when taxi drivers at airports waving “Professor Donald” placards tell her they were expecting a man.

She told the News: “I think it’s endemic. It doesn’t matter in a certain sense, but it’s symptomatic of the way women are viewed in society.

“As a woman if you are strong you are seen as bitchy and if you cry you are overly emotional or you have some other flaw like you can’t hack it in a man’s world. It hasn’t been said to me specifically, but there is the impression that a strong man is seen as assertive whereas a woman is aggressive.”

She added sexism can work both ways, such as nurses who are greeted with raised eyebrows because they are male, adding that society still has very specific ideas about male and female roles.

She suggested that her students are probably still experiencing the same sort of sexism as she has encountered.

Government urged to end male grip on public boards Herald Scotland The extent to which men dominate the boards and senior management teams of many of the institutions which run the country has been laid bare by statistics revealed under freedom of information legislation.

The figures gathered by Scottish Labour’s equalities spokeswoman Jackie Baillie cover the boards of public-sector organisations in areas such the arts and health, culture, justice and the environment.

Scotland’s 14 health boards have an average of 37% women members.

So-called executive non-departmental public bodies such as Creative Scotland, the Crofting Commission and the National Museums of Scotland average just 30% female board membership, while 36% of senior management teams in those agencies are female.

UCD denies gender discrimination against female academic Irish Times University College Dublin has denied claims the Labour Court did not properly assess material concerning promotions within the college when dismissing a complaint the failure to promote a senior female academic to professor constituted gender discrimination.

In High Court proceedings, Dr Eleanor O’Higgins, a senior lecturer in the UCD school of law and business, claims the Labour Court, having found aspects of the univsersity’s promotion selection processs raised an inference of gender discrimination, then erred in how it assessed evidence from both the promotions committee, known as UCAATP, and herself.

Dr O’Higgins contends it is significant, when her application for promotion in 2007 was rejected by UCAATP, the only two women promoted professor that year were from the arts faculty and no woman from any other faculty was promoted professor.

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