As I write there are 26 members of Cabinet in the current UK administration. Four of them are women.
Last year David Cameron trumpeted loudly about having a special advisor for women to help him look at the women’s perspective. I think it would be fair to say it was an announcement that almost left me speechless. But not entirely and here’s what I wrote at the time, in November 2011:
Oh dear! The leader of the Tory party in the UK and the current prime minister of Great Britain, wants to appoint a female special advisor to cast an eye over Government initiatives and to ensure policies are women friendly.
Yes, that’s right. The UK government feels the need to bring in a woman to check over policies so that they will win women’s votes in the next election. Whoops, sorry, I meant obviously he wants to make sure he is representing all the population. That’s at least 50% of us that need a special advisor.
I almost don’t know where to start, and I don’t even want to dignify such patronising nonsense with a considered response. But one piece of advice, David. This is 2011. Appoint some women into government.
And don’t ever tell me to “Calm Down Dear!”
So here we are almost a year on and I haven’t heard anything at all about a women’s special advisor so if there is one in post they have been remarkably quiet. I have heard an awful lot about how government policy is hitting women hardest though.
I wonder why there was no appointment with attendant fanfare?
Maybe they couldn’t find anyone daft enough to take up such a post?
Maybe someone realised that when there is a genuine minority group in society it is right and proper to appoint someone to speak up on their behalf and tell the majority how what they do affects that minority?
Maybe another type of special advisor told David Cameron that when a minority is not really a minority, in fact is probably a majority of the population by a whisker and certainly 50% of the population, then having a special advisor is a blatant admission of the fact that politics in this country is not aimed at women – and that the government is de facto admitting that it’s not fully representing women’s interests and working to a very male model. And maybe someone also told him that even supporters of the current Government might find the whole idea a bit, well, patronising.
Of course, if you realised that you’d keep quiet about it. Because if you really wanted to change things you wouldn’t turn to the old boys network to appoint, you’d throw the field wide open in a fair and transparent manner and you’d do something about a better gender balance in government. If you were really serious that is…
You can read some of the comments on that original post here
Thinking of expanding your training business? I can help you. To find out more, click here.
Posted on October 19th, 2012 by Jane