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

March 6, 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 Video Broadcasters to Cameron: Tell us a date you can do for head-to-head debate

    Broadcasters to Cameron: Tell us a date you can do for head-to-head debate

    Broadcasters appear to be losing their patience with David Cameron’s attempts to get out of appearing the pre-election TV debates. It is widely understood that Cameron has been advised by strategist Lynton Crosby not to take part in the leaders’ debates and has been dragging his feet during negotiations, making more debates each time broadcasters make new proposals. Following the initial invitation of UKIP to appear, Cameron claimed that the Green Party should also take part. Now the Greens, SNP […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Tactical voting: unless we are an open tribe, we will die

    Tactical voting: unless we are an open tribe, we will die

    So Compass holds a debate about the relevance, or not, of tactical voting in the run up May and straight away John Spellar MP and then Luke Akehurst are on to us. John accused us of calling on people ‘not to vote Labour”, Luke says we are ‘naïve’. Well first lets be clear: we have set up the space on our website for a debate; we have one article for tactical voting and one against. We wanted to see what […]

    Read more →
  • News Cooper says “slippery” Farage’s immigration speech will increase division

    Cooper says “slippery” Farage’s immigration speech will increase division

    Yvette Cooper has accused Nigel Farage of attempting to exploit concerns about immigration rather than attempting to come up with practical policies. The Shadow Home Secretary also derided UKIP for getting themselves in a “ridiculous tangle” on the issue – last week a spokesperson for the party said they would introduce a net migration target of 50,000, while Farage today claims that it is not party policy. This follows Ed Miliband attacking David Cameron for missing his 2010 immigration promises […]

    Read more →
  • Featured PMQs Verdict: Nevermind what Cameron said – it’s what he wouldn’t say that matters

    PMQs Verdict: Nevermind what Cameron said – it’s what he wouldn’t say that matters

    There are only three PMQs left until the election. Three more of these turgid, unattractive, unedifying and borderline pointless sessions to sit through before May. If this is the highlight of the Parliamentary week then Parliament can’t prorogue quick enough, frankly. Evidently many MPs feel the same, judging by the wide open spaces on the green benches this lunchtime. After a few minutes MPs had all spaced themselves out a little bit to make the place look a bit less […]

    Read more →
  • News Burnham announces charities should be “preferred provider” for NHS services

    Burnham announces charities should be “preferred provider” for NHS services

    Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary, has said that charities should be the “preferred provider” of NHS services. He has said that Labour would introduce legislation, to get rid of parts of the contentious 2012 Health and Social Care Act, that would mean not-for-profit organisations would be seen as the “preferred provider” for the NHS. Contracts would be five or ten year agreements. This is part of Labour’s plan for health and social care. Speaking at the Association of Chief Executives […]

    Read more →