Gender and Politics in the media

UK: Tories may need all-women shortlists, senior peer warns. Women of Westminster have had enough. Cameron’s front bench flooded with women

Baroness Anne Jenkin (1998)

Tory party may need all-women shortlists, senior peer warns The Tory party must consider all-women shortlists of parliamentary candidates if it loses female MPs at the next election, a senior Conservative Party peer has warned.

Baroness Jenkin of Kennington said the Tories needed to consider “all the options” and could not be seen to be ignoring “50 per cent of the talent” when selecting prospective MPs.

She acknowledged that the idea was likely to trigger anger in Tory associations opposed to the shortlists but said they may be necessary to prevent the number of female MPs falling again.

Baroness Jenkin’s appeal, in the London Evening Standard, was made after Ed Miliband last week highlighted how there was not a single woman on the Coalition front bench at Prime Minister’s Questions.

The women of Westminster have had enough Are the women of Whitehall and Westminster so hacked off with our degraded way of doing politics that they are finally going to force some revolutionary changes? I’ve never known so many senior women so dismayed by the one-upmanship games of male politicians.

“How can we entice more women to stand for Parliament when we have this unprofessional image of a childish, old-fashioned boys’ club with hectoring and bullying that would never be tolerated in a boardroom or classroom?” asks the Tory MP Mary Macleod, who is chairing an all-party inquiry into why so many women are quitting politics.

Labour’s Dame Tessa Jowell is equally fierce. “What we are seeing is a big wake-up call for politics, its conventions and its behaviour,” she says. Meanwhile, Dame Helen Ghosh, former top official at the Home Office and now director general of the National Trust, told a seminar at the Institute for Government that she had sometimes felt “ground down” when working for ministers who “took decisions for the wrong reasons – such as pleasing the Daily Mail”.

Clegg refuses to back down over Rennard legal threat BBC News Nick Clegg is refusing to reinstate a Lib Dem peer accused of sexually harassing female colleagues.

Lord Rennard is threatening to start legal action in the High Court against the party by the end of Thursday if his suspension is not lifted. But Mr Clegg said his position had not changed – and he repeated his call for Lord Rennard to apologise for any distress caused to the women.

Lord Rennard denies claims of harassment by four female activists.

He was asked to apologise after the party said an internal party investigation concluded the claims against him were credible but could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Labour: ‘The glass ceiling is alive and kicking within politics and business’ “The fact that there is a glass ceiling is undeniable and it’s unacceptable. There needs to be far more will in the business community and amongst policy makers to affect change.

“There is a ceiling and we’ve got to break it,” Mr Umunna said.

Speaking to Telegraph Wonder Women at a Telefonica and Wayra event supporting female entrepreneurs on Tuesday night, he said the lack of women in parliament, in the Bank of England and in boardrooms was “dispiriting.”

The man once described as a British Barak Obama dismissed suggestions from critics that promoting women into boardrooms purely because they are women is tokenistic and ignoring a quality of “merit.”

“Are you seriously saying the reason in 2014 we don’t see women in business or leadership positions in parliament, or on our boards, [is because they] don’t merit promotion?

Spot the difference: David Cameron’s front bench flooded with women Oh dear. Rather predictably, David Cameron has gone from one sorry extreme to the other. His all-male front bench was mocked during Prime Minister’s Questions last week, and so this week, he has gone for a full-blown fem-fest.

Theresa May, Maria Miller and Justine Greening are in prime positions for the cameras, with Theresa Villiers and Anne Milton taking up the extra seats. Could it be that all five women had received a three-line whip from 10 Downing Street urging their presence?

The oestrogen-loaded bench means that Mr Cameron has avoided another pressing question from Ed Miliband on his so-called “women problem”. For now. But the fact he’s seemingly had to request their presence to stave off another attack from Labour just says it all.

PMQs: Cameron packs front bench with women after Miliband criticism David Cameron ensured that his front benches were packed full of female ministers following criticism that his party had a ‘women problem’ at last week’s Prime Ministers’ Questions.

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, used Theresa May’s absence from PMQs last week to mock the Prime Minister for his “all-male front bench” and the increasing numbers of Conservative MPs leaving parliament.

In stark contrast this week the Prime Minister’s frontbench included five female ministers Theresa May, Justine Greening, Anne Milton, Maria Miller and Theresa Villiers and as well as Conservative whip Claire Perry.

Directly behind Mr Cameron four further female MPs were sat in clear view of the cameras. Behind those, another three female MPs can be seen.

New bid to increase number of women MLAs at StormontBelfast Telegraph More family-friendly sitting hours, childcare facilities and parental leave arrangements are among the proposals under consideration to try to attract more women into Stormont.

Out of the present – count ’em – 108 MLAs, fewer than one in five (only 20) is a woman.

Yet many of the ladies of the legislature punch well above their weight – not least as ministers and chairs of key committees.

The fact nonetheless remains: when it comes to equality of the sexes, Stormont isn’t the worst in Europe – but it comes close.

With the exception of Dail Eireann, the Assembly has the lowest female representation of the devolved and national legislatures in these islands.

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