Meritocracy, the enlightened west and other myths about women in politics by @MsAfropolitan

Cross-posted from: Ms Afropolitan
Originally published: 16.01.17

It is interesting, that, in discussions about gender equality, “merit” only comes up when we are speaking about women taking up positions that are traditionally male. Nobody questions whether it is meritocratic that, say, prostitution is a predominantly female profession, or that a disproportionate amount of women work in underpaid caring jobs. Similarly, to imagine that competence alone accounts for male dominance in politics is a fantasy. Merit, from Latin meritaremeans “to earn”, and if any group in society has earned a fair chance to shape it, it is women. This is what my latest piece for the Guardian, there titled “On parliamentary equality the UK is 48th. It could learn from No 1: Rwanda” and shared below, is about. 
Read more Meritocracy, the enlightened west and other myths about women in politics by @MsAfropolitan

Inequality has a female face by @NatashaCody

(cross-posted from Un Tywysoges: I’m not a Princess, I don’t need saving….)

As it’s Blog Action Day today, I felt it fitting to launch my new blog. And in honour of the same, my first post tries to pull together my thoughts on the subject of Inequality.

I suspect that when the team at Blog Action Day decided upon this year’s theme of inequality, they were talking about the growing gap between the very rich and the very poor (see Lagarde here). But for me, inequality takes many forms and can be thought of in many different ways. What I find most concerning however, is that one particular demographic suffers inequality more than any other; women.

Whilst the situation of women varies from nation to nation, here in the UK there is still much to be done before English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh women can be truly claim to be equal to their male counterparts;

In work

The Gender Pay Gap in the UK is 15.7%, having increased 0.9% from 2012[1].

Only 18% of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are majority women-led[2].

If you’re looking for female role models at FTSE 100 companies, you won’t have to look hard but you will still have to look – women make up only 23% of FTSE 100 boardroom posts[3].

In politics

There are 32 million women in the UK. That’s 51% of the population (a majority). But there are only 147 female MPs (23%).

In Wales, where we have 50:50 representation at a European Level, the Welsh Government and local authorities are lagging behind…

  • 42% of AMs;
  • 27% of the Welsh Government Cabinet;
  • 17% of Welsh MPS
  • 9% of Council Leaders, and 27% of Councillors are women[4].

In society

Between 2012 to 2013 around 1.2 million women suffered domestic abuse and over 330,000 women were sexually assaulted in the UK.

One in four women will be affected by domestic abuse in their lifetimes.Two women a week are killed by their partner or ex-partner in England & Wales. 54% of rapes in the UK are committed by a woman’s current or former partner73% of domestic abuse is carried out by men against women[5].

Almost a third of girls experience unwanted sexual touching in UK schools1 in 3 teenage girls have experienced sexual violencefrom a boyfriend. 1 in 3 young women experience sexual bullying in school on a daily basis[6].

37% of female University students have faced unwelcome sexual advancesFemale students in full-time education are at higher risk of sexual violence than the general female population[7].

These statistics paint a bleak picture of equality in Wales, and in the UK. As children, girls play with increasingly gendered toys, and as they grow, are presented with gendered career paths. They are inundated with media messages which crow about how the perfect woman looks like X, weighs Y, works at Z, and enjoys sex like a porn star. We’reobjectified and commodified.

Inequality takes many forms, but they all have a female face.

 

[1] http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/latest/press-releases/gap-in-pay-between-women-and-men-widens-after-years-of-slow-steady-progress/

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/small-business-survey-2012-businesses-led-by-women-and-ethnic-minorities

[3] http://www.boardsforum.co.uk/boardwatch.html

[4]http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/publication_pdf/wrw_2014_english.pdf

[5] http://www.welshwomensaid.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=55

[6] http://ukfeminista.org.uk/take-action/generation-f/statistics/

[7] http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/oct/11/campus-nightmare-female-students-rise-sexual-harassment

 

Un Tywysoges: I’m not a Princess, I don’t need saving….: a good mix of political commentary (Welsh), and scribbles about the other passions in my life; namely, travelling, reading, really good food, and learning Welsh. I’m a prolific Tweeter, for me sins – @NatashaCody