Gender and Politics in the media

UK: Labour MP: Thomas the Tank Engine needs more female trains. SNP vows to scrap marriage tax breaks.

Women workers and a fragile recovery BBC News …In less economic terms, that jargon means that where one earner’s spending power has been squeezed, others (stereotypically, his wife) have to pick up some work. It may be that’s become easier as childcare provision improves.

Stereotypical or not, the big long-term change in the labour market is the continuing rise in the number of women. The official survey shows that in the year to October, 60,000 more women were in work, reaching more than 1.2 million. That’s been rising since the labour market survey started in 1992 (and, presumably, goes back a long time before that).

The rise in labour market participation has been most marked among those aged 50 to 64. Says Gary Gillespie: “This reflects a prevalence for women to work longer into old age, perhaps reflecting greater equality in the labour market.”

That’s while women aged under 24 have been more often unavailable for work because they’re too busy getting educated. And having got educated, both men and women are more likely to join the workforce afterwards.


Dave Porter Peterborough Uk via Getty Images


Mary Creagh, Labour Shadow Transport Secretary, Says Thomas … Huffington Post UK Thomas The Tank Engine is to blame for the lack of female train drivers in the UK, according to Labour’s shadow transport secretary.

Mary Creagh has said the popular children’s series is detrimental to children – setting a bad example – and claimed that more female characters are in urgent need.

Explaining how girls should be more encouraged by the TV show, she described the lack of women train drivers as a “national scandal.”

“Negative stereotypes” portrayed in children’s television, like Thomas The Tank Engine, are partly to blame, she argued.

All the main characters in the show – Thomas, James, Edward, Henry, Gordon, Percy and even the Fat Controller – are male.

SNP vows to scrap marriage tax breaks BBC News The SNP has confirmed it would scrap a planned tax break for married couples if it was elected to lead an independent Scotland. The party claimed the UK government tax break discriminated again women.

The £700m plan, which comes into force in 2015, will allow lower earners to transfer up to a £1,000 of their unused tax allowance to their spouse. The Free Church of Scotland accused the SNP of “cheap populism” and hiding behind “the guise of discrimination”. The SNP’s blueprint for independence had indicated the tax change would be abolished. The party has now said the focus should be on improving childcare.

Thomas the Tank Engine needs more female trains, Labour MP says Thomas the Tank Engine is setting a poor example to children and needs more female engines to encourage girls to become train drivers, Labour’s shadow transport secretary has said.

Mary Creagh described the lack of female train drivers in Britain as a “national scandal” and said that children’s television shows and “negative stereotypes” are partly to blame.

She called on train companies recruit more female drivers by advertising in magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Women’s Own, and suggested that they need to offer more part time work.

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