Gender and Politics in the media

UK: Cameron taunted over Tories’ all-male front bench at PMQs. Miliband accuses Cameron of running country like old boys’ network.

Parties fall short of gender quotas Irish Times The two major parties are struggling to achieve recommended gender quotas in their slates of candidates for the local election candidates.

While neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil have finalised their candidate selection, an analysis of their selected candidates to date shows that only 22 per cent of Fine Gael candidates are women, while Fianna Fáil has fared even poorer in terms of gender balance with only 17 per cent of female candidates.

This elections for the 31 city and county councils in May will be the last where there is no statutory requirement for a minimum percentage of male or female candidates. A new law introduced by Minister for Environment and Local Government Phil Hogan will result in parties losing a portion of their State funding from the next general election if they fail to meet a 30 per cent threshold of female or male candidates.

FG gender quotas force male councillor off ticket Irish Independent FINE Gael has become embroiled in a row over gender quotas after a male councillor was replaced on the party ticket by a woman. Carlow councillor Pat O’Toole has accused Fine Gael headquarters of engaging in “pear-shaped democracy” after he was blocked from running in the local elections despite reaching the quota during a selection convention last week.

Mr O’Toole became the fourth candidate to secure the required number of votes. However, he was later informed that he was being replaced by party colleague Kathy Walsh.

The Irish Independent has learned that Fine Gael headquarters issued a directive prior to the convention stating that at least one female candidate must be on the ticket. Ms Walsh had secured the most votes of the three female candidates.

Conservative Women ‘Aren’t Proper Feminists’, Says Former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith Huffington Post Female Conservative MPs “aren’t proper feminists”, former Labour home secretary Jacqui Smith has said. Her comments came as David Cameron was attacked by Ed Miliband during prime minister’s questions for having “failed women”.

In an interview with Total Politics magazine published on Wednesday evening, Smith acknowledged there was a “new generation” of Conservative women MPs who had a “more of an understanding of the systemic disadvantage that women face in society”.

However she added: “Having said that, unless you believe that there’s a role for government in promoting gender equality – quite a few of them don’t believe it – I’m not sure you could be a full-blown feminist; they can be feminist-lite, but they aren’t proper feminists, because they don’t have an analysis of the system.”

David Cameron with the all-male frontbench. His party was accused of having a problem with women. Photograph: PA

Ed Miliband accuses David Cameron of running country like old boys’ network The Guardian David Cameron has been accused of running the country like an old boys’ network after he turned up to prime minister’s questions with an entirely male frontbench.

He was taunted about the Conservatives‘ “women problem” by Ed Miliband in the same week it emerged several prominent women have recently been sacked from government jobs and Anne McIntosh, a high-profile female Tory MP, was deselected by her local association. The Labour leader also claimed a prominent businesswoman, who is the wife of a Tory donor, had been greeted by Cameron with the remark: “Where’s your husband?”

Where are all the women Cameron? Prime Minister taunted over Tories’ all-male front bench at PMQs The Independent David Cameron has been accused of “failing women across the country” with a picture of the PM’s all-male front bench being shared widely as an example of the Tories “problem with women.”

Ed Miliband was quick to pounce upon Theresa May’s absence from the front bench and turn it into a political opportunity. The Labour leader told the chamber: “I do have to say a picture tells a thousand words… look at the all male front bench laid before us.

“You said you want to represent the whole country. I guess they didn’t let women into the Bullingdon Club either, so there we go.

“You said a third of your ministers would be women, you are nowhere near meeting the target. Half the women you have appointed as ministers after the election have resigned or been sacked. And in your cabinet, there are as many men who went to Eton or Westminster as there are women.

David Cameron and every Tory man must change their sexist attitudes towards women, says senior Conservative MP Daily Mail Every Tory man risks appearing sexist, causing harm to the party’s re-election hopes, a senior Conservative MP warned last night. Bernard Jenkin said even David Cameron was guilty of ‘unconscious slights to women’, including  greeting a leading businesswoman by asking where her husband was. Too often Conservative men think female colleagues can be left to deal with ‘women’s issues’, while ‘men get on with running the country’.

Karren Brady: Westminster is like ‘football clubs in ’90s’ – women have it tough Telegraph.co.uk The West Ham vice-chairman and TV Apprentice star, recently appointed as the Conservative’s small business ambassador, said Westminster is “not an easy place” for women and said politics desperately needed to “catch up” with modern Britain if it is ever to attract more women.

She told Telegraph Wonder Women: “Westminster is not an easy place for women MPs, if the truth be known. Sometimes that’s because you come across people from a different generation – it’s a bit like football was in the 1990s, when I went there.”

Ms Brady, 44, made her comments after meeting with all 48 female Conservative MPs about what life is like in Westminster. “The trend was that it’s not an easy place as a woman. The hardest thing to change anywhere is the culture,” she said.

David Cameron plans major London welcome for Angela Merkel – in contrast to Francois Hollande Telegraph.co.uk David Cameron is planning to lay on a major welcome for Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, when she visits Britain later this month. The Prime Minister is arranging for Mrs Merkel to address both MPs and Lords in Parliament and hold an audience with the Queen during her visit on or around February 27.

The scale of the events – just short of a full state visit – is in stark contrast to last week’s Anglo-French summit when Francois Hollande, the French president. Mr Cameron met Mr Hollande for a few hours at a windy airfield in Oxfordshire, held a short press conference in a cavernous hangar and retired to a pub for lunch.

The Telegraph understands Mrs Merkel is to be given the rare privilege of addressing both Houses of Parliament in the Royal Gallery at the Palace of Westminster.

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