LabourList is drowned out by ego-stroking testosterone – It’s time for a virtual feminist party

6th March, 2009 11:54 am

By Rowenna DavisIWD

LabourList Guest Editor

According to the UN, the average woman speaks 20,000 words a day whilst the average guy speaks just 7,000. Yet when it comes to political conversations online, women are still massively under-represented.

The political blogosphere is increasingly coming to mirror the gung ho boys club that is the House of Commons. Online and off, proper debate is being drowned out by testosterone, ego stroking and petit point scoring. If women are to advance gender equality, they need to start reclaiming the political web space. Now.

To date, the laddish LabourListers – with their emphasis on donuts, techie banter and zero female employees – haven’t really helped the problem. But to their credit, they have invited me to be Guest Editor to help balance the office’s oestrogen- testosterone ratio for one day of the year, next Monday – to celebrate International Women’s Day.

So on Monday, LabourList will be a man-free zone, and women will be taking over the political space.

If you ask me, they’ve let “woman trouble” in through the virtual front door.

Once inside, I’ll be asking a bunch of sassy intelligent women from all ends of the political spectrum to speak their minds on exactly what Labour should do (and stop doing) to advance gender equality in the UK. We’re going to have a virtual feminist party – hosted by the men at LabourList – and everyone’s invited. When we’re done, we’ll leave them to pick up the pieces.

Heading up the guest list will be Fiona Millar talking about Thatcher’s legacy on women in politics and Harriet Harman on how to stop “old boys networks” from “profiting from discretionary bonus and pension systems”. MEP Mary Honeyball and her assistant Holly Sutton will be arguing (on opposite sides!?) about whether 50:50 representation is a good thing, whilst Jessica Asato has a surprise for us.

Outside of the mainstream Labour oestrogen pool we’ll be hearing from the likes of maverick feminist blogger Penny Red on popular sexism, and feminist and community activist Anne-Marie O’Reilly on how Labour’s new Welfare Bill discriminates against single mothers.

The proliferation of gender inequality in the UK means that these guest bloggers will have a lot to talk about. The traditional pay gap is still going strong at 17%, rising to 40% in the city. Just one in ten directors of FTSE 100 companies are women, and less than 20% of all MPs are female. Meanwhile recent research since the financial crisis suggests that 40% of women – all too often at the bottom of the economic pile – are worrying about how to pay the bills as compared to just 27% of men.

These kinds of figures are unacceptable, and we need to get talking about them. So please – men, women, those who prefer to leave their gender unspecified – spare us some of your 7,000 or 20,000 words a day, and join the debate.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • News After humiliating defeat in Bradford West, George Galloway is running for Mayor of London

    After humiliating defeat in Bradford West, George Galloway is running for Mayor of London

    Following his embarrassing election defeat to Labour’s Naz Shah in Bradford West, former Labour MP George Galloway has announced his candidacy in the 2016 Mayor of London race. The Respect Party leader recently began legal proceedings over the Bradford West result, where his 10,000 majority turned into an 11,000 majority for Labour. Given his new interest, it is unclear whether he will be pursuing the case. During the election, Galloway caused an uproar when accused his Labour opponent Naz Shah of lying […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured You can’t replace the experiences of millions of workers with ‘aspirational politics’

    You can’t replace the experiences of millions of workers with ‘aspirational politics’

    Over my long life I have been many things: As a lad I was a child labourer who lived in cheap doss houses with my parents who had been made destitute by the Great Depression. As a young man, I left those warrens and took the kings shilling and served in the RAF during the Second World War. In peace time, because a Labour government introduced the Welfare State, I became a member of the middle class and exchanged my […]

    Read more →
  • News Sadiq Khan slams tendency of politicians and media to “lump all Asians together”

    Sadiq Khan slams tendency of politicians and media to “lump all Asians together”

    London Mayor hopeful Sadiq Khan has pledged today to make efforts to win back over Hindu voters, following polling showing that at this election more Hindus voted Tory than Labour for the first time ever. Survation polling released this week showed that the Conservatives had an eight point lead over Labour among Hindu voters, 49% to 41%. Over 425,000 Hindus live in London, and Labour failed to win two target seats that have large Hindu populations, Harrow East and Croydon Central. […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour neglected Jewish communities’ concerns, says Dugher

    Labour neglected Jewish communities’ concerns, says Dugher

    Labour neglected the concerns of the Jewish community and paid the price for it when it came to polling day, according to Shadow Transport Secretary Michael Dugher. Dugher, who is managing Andy Burnham’s leadership campaign, told the Jewish Chronicle that a “rather catastrophic political management error” in the party’s approach to the Israel/Palestine conflict alienated many Jewish voters. In an interview with the paper, Dugher also says he deliberately abstained on a vote over Palestinian statehood last year despite a […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour announce new Lords Opposition Leader

    Labour announce new Lords Opposition Leader

    Former Basildon MP Angela Smith has replaced Jan Royall as Labour’s leader in the House of Lords. Baroness Smith served in the Commons for 13 years before standing down in 2010, when she was given a peerage. Baroness Royall announced a fortnight ago that she would be stepping down from her role after six years and Smith was elected unopposed to take on the mantle. She was previously deputy chief whip in the Lords and a shadow Home Office minister. […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit