Monday, 31 August 2009
Expounding off the last point, there has been quite a lot of talk about political figures standing up for what they believe in and going against the party line, such as Dan Hannan and Frank Field. I think that principled politics is a must, and that politics should not always be dictated by a consensual style. However, there is not taking the party line, and then there is going completely against the core beliefs. Opik does the latter, as his views and attitudes towards women go completely against the Lib Dem's stance on equal opportunity for women. How can we seriously advocate a 'Real Women' campaign whilst having Opik write the rubbish he does in the porn obsessed Daily Sport?
You look at the other two parties and how the MPs who have columns in newspapers write about serious issues. For example, whilst Opik is busy fantasying about fruit and veg, Boris Johnson was writing about transport, and Alan Johnson was writing about alcohol ASBO's. How the hell are we ever going to be a serious party if we have MPs such as Opik writing this sort of rubbish? This sort of laid back attitude has been so clearly reflected this summer, as we have failed to get our views across in so many important debates, such as the NHS.
You may agree, you may disagree, but my own personal preference is for Opik to have the whip removed. He undermines the seriousness of our party, and conflicts so abruptly with our aims and beliefs of equality. The way he talks about women and the degrading images of women in the so called newspaper, The Daily Sport, is embarrassing to our party. I feel we should have a more credible candidate put in place for next election.
As well as financial implications of the policy, there is also the issue that it simply will not work. As I briefly mentioned above, the policy fails to address the reasons for why people go out and drink their soul away. Simply having a partial aspect of the policy addressing this, with the courts being able to offer alcohol misuse courses to those who are criminalised, is a post hoc and unhelpful attempt of helping the individual overcome their reasons for drinking. Furthermore, the participant has to pay for the course, not the government, and this could be anything from £120 to £250. Clear incentive there don't you think? The government need to focus more on preventive measures, and look at the society in a systemic way, so that they consider the structural causes for why people drink. There is more, but only slightly more, hope of a Labour government considering this in comparison to a Conservative government. The Liberal Democrats, and this is not a bias comment, it is the truth, are the only party that reiterate the need for preventive measures and the need to address the reasons for problems such as drink related abuse. Furthermore, we also offer the most comprehensive restorative policies.
Banning youths from drinking in public will just drive the problems into a private issue, and fails to tackle the underlying issues that cause the excessive drinking. These concerns are echoed by the important Liberty campaign group, who's policy director I spoke of earlier remarked:
"How many times can you spin a new 'crackdown' without tackling the causes of offending behaviour?"This just reinforces exactly what I was saying. Worryingly, Liberty say everything the Liberal Democrats should be saying. We should be focusing on the cause and effect relationship in relation to alcohol instead of promoting policies that wont work, such as the minimum pricing of alcohol, as people who want to drink are prepared to pay a few pounds extra to do so.
Even the chairman of the Magistrates Association, John Thornhill, has doubts around the policy:
"We are not satisfied that these will work as effectively as perhaps some of the Asbos have. Clearly the issue is about tackling why it is these people have an alcohol dependency."Exactly! Whilst I don't agree with him that any ASBO has ever worked, the issue is WHY do people suffer from alcohol abuse. Simply slapping an ASBO on them will do little to help improve their well-being. Again, another gimmicky, wasteful policy that further adds to the criminalisation and stigmatisation around problems that need more thought and care when being addressed.
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Portillo once again draws on those contraversial and massaged figures, which Theresa May used and Polly Tonybee rightly pulled her up on in her article yesterday. Portillo's claims that Beveridge with his five social evils, would advocate a world that Portillo would like, so one where benefits would be only accessible for those in absolute poverty, so one not based on a moral basis to help the disadvantaged. If Beverdige had wanted a world like that, he never would have advocated the solutions he did. Sickeningly, Portillo even seems to be supporting the workhouse conditions as a way to deter people from not working. Does he even consider those with disabilities? Illnesses? No, he doesn't.
To say living on benefits for most people is a 'lifestyle choice' is utterly offensive and misguided. Yes, there are the odd few who do live on benefits out of choice. Yes, there are the few cases such as Karen Matthews. But no, this is not a reprensetaive cross section of those who are on benefits. And how about white colour crime, hey? He talks about the loss of stigmatisation around benefits for lower income families, families who actually need money to survive, but what about those multi millionaires ripping off the shareholderes, or making banks nearly crash and pocket a massive pension in return, not mentioning any names Fred Goodwin. There has never been a stigmatisation around white colour crime, and the fact he is writing an article about benefit fraud shows how the stigmatisation around benefit living has not gone. He claims that the cost of living on benefits has not been talked about until recently. Are you serious? These debates have been going on for years. Was he actually a real part of the Thatcher government? Also, what about middle class benefits? Those benefits that help with home payments, for example? He doesn't complain about them, does he?
He talks about benefits not being morally affordable. What he is calling for are for those on benefits to be stigmatised again, even though there is a relativity small number of people who actually want to be on benefits. His admiration for Murray is shown again, as he talks about the flawed concept of the 'underclass', who he seems to think are roaming our streets pursing violence and drugs. Is he really a serious politician? Well, saying that he is a Tory. But honestly, this is just ridiculous. It is just another attempt of Tory waffle, that is attempted to promote their theme of a 'broken society', whilst they pimp it up in their expensive homes with their expensive lifestyles. The majority of them have not had a days hardship. How can he claim the stigmatisation around benefits has gone if he has not actually had to sign on and claim them? A snobby claim, if I do say so myself.
His remarks of the deserving and undeserving poor link to another known right wing nut case, that of Herbert Spencer. I wrote about his ideas yesterday in reference to the abolition of tax credits, May talked about. In specific reference to deserving and undeserving poor, Spencer said that those who are deserving poor such as the elderly and sick, deserved to have benefits, whilst the undeserving did not as they did not work. This again shows Tories to be closely affiliated with traditional right wing eccentric views, that would fail to fit into our increasingly diverse society.
It is surprising that Portillo is supporting Murray, when Murray himself is homophobic, with his strong support of traditional marriage and families. However, in this, he is also a hypocrite, after Murray has been divorced himself. To see Portillo state his support for Murray so avidly as he has today, is quite worrying. This strikes me as something that runs through the Tory party, and a theme that would destroy this country if and most likely when the Conservatives come to power.
Saturday, 29 August 2009
The Tories think raising the Inheritance Tax Threshold is more principled than having Tax Credits...
“Solving poverty is also about aspiration and skills rather than giving people extra financial help. And solving it is about tackling educational failure, antisocial behaviour, debt problems and addiction, and of course it’s about work.”
Friday, 28 August 2009
The first part of her article that addresses the comments that often surround Anne Robinson is something I disagree with. She says that women who believe that Anne Robinson's cosmetic surgery is unnecessary are jealous, and makes out that it is a requirement for being a presenter in a modern day media world. This is the type of attitude that needs to be changed. It shouldn't be the case that Robinson only feels comfortable when she looks'younger'. It is fake and does little to bolster the attempts to tackle ageism and pressures around how women look.
However, her highlighting how Duncan Bannatyne never has any snide remarks about his appearance despite his cosmetic surgery, actually illustrates an important point. Women can't win. They can leave themselves how they are. Face the criticism for not fitting the male defined 'ideal image' of what a women should be. Or they could have cosmetic surgery. Fulfil what men want. But then still face criticism. But I really think this is an age specific practice. As models who have breast implants, for example, don't exactly face criticism from the males like Robinson does. I mean, our own Lembit Opic, who I despise, writes in a sickening porn 'newspaper'.
The part of the article that I do agree with however, is the damning of so called Feminist Fay Weldon. Advocating women to not speak about their feelings to men, and basically put up and shut up, Fay believes equality can be formed. Her comments on rape are to be remembered as thoughtless, and sums up her overall supposed Feminist views. How about faking orgasms and not batting an eye lid at your partners porn obsession? All part of her 'amazing' Feminist plan for equality. Absolutely rubbish if you ask me. Masturbating over other women, whilst in a relationship, even if they are not known in person, to me, is a little insensitive. Especially, if those women make real women feel as though they have to change how they look to keep their relationships alive. I totally disagree with almost everything Fay Weldon says.
Rightly, Moir claims that Weldon's comments are a disgrace to those suffragettes who chained themselves to the railings of Downing Street to fight back against the dominance and unequal control men have in society. Fay's comments start to undo this, and start to give air to the Feminist bashing males' such as 'Angry Harry', who I wrote a response to yesterday.
Again, Moir and I face disagreement when she claims:
"It just seems sensible to accept that domestic life runs smoother when there is a clear division of labour."So what is 'clear' then? Yes, if women want to stay at home and men want to go to work, well yes, I fully support that. But, if women want to go to work as do the men, but women have to stay at home because of the societal attitudes and stigmatisation towards women who go to work with young children, which happened to Sarah Palin, then I disagree. What she fails to understand is that the battle for a 'clear' division of labour is far from attained. We need policies such as a comprehsensive childcare policy, better pay, reforms around paternity and maternity leave so that it provides more scope for equal childcare activities.
Some very interesting points were brought out in the article. Whilst I do agree with her criticism of the so called Feminist, Fay Weldon, on reflection, there is quite a lot of her article I disagree with. Fay Weldon is wrong to call herself a Feminist in my eyes. A Feminist who supports the status quo? News to me.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
"Question: Should 'women' have more votes than 'men'? For those who think, yes, (because there are more women voters than men voters) then it follows that they also believe that those in a minority should have less of a say in what affects them."Who said that mainstream feminism or I wanted women to vote more?? We just want to have more equality, not sexism against men. One vote is enough for me. For him to use the question of whether women or men should have more votes seems so nonsensical, it is missing the point of what others and I are arguing. This just shows how misconceived his view of equality is, no wonder he does not think it is worth striving for.
"The best that can be hoped for is that people are happy with what is happening."
His claims that propaganda frames the way men and women feel about their position in society, further shows how naive his way of looking at things is. Women do not just feel marginalised because of the pay gap statistics published in the papers; it is because they are submerged in a dominant culture of men. I can vouch for real experience of feeling uneasy in situations because of the male/female divide; in fact, I did a blog earlier today, about how this runs in Lib Dem circles too.
He believes that women asking to be paid the same amount of money as men for doing the same jobs is "strange" if the man has say been doing the job for longer, or if the women's physical ability means she has to carry 1 instead of 2 bricks (his stupid example). I think he is the one with a "strange" view of equality. Why should it matter how long someone has been doing a job, if they are doing the same job they should be paid the same amounts of money. He is so finicky it is untrue!
However, whilst he believes that in terms of a stereotypical male job such as bricklaying, women should not be paid the same as men (obviously showing his sexist conception of what women should really be doing - kitchen and bedroom) that men however, SHOULD get the same amount of money as women for working in a cantine. So what is the difference then?! I have never come across the arguments he puts forward around the ways he says Feminists would challenge the wages men and women get for doing a cantine job. I have never met a Feminist who wants women to be paid more than men for jobs, so it is an obvious attempt to bash down Feminism, because he is frankly a sexist tradition male.
He claims that Feminists would suddenly reverse their opposition to the unfairness of childcare if more men stayed at home, and reverse their views on the gender pay gap, if women earned more than men. I say that is totally wrong, and misconceived, as the rest of his rant is. Can you please tell me how that works? What Feminists are arguing for is equality, not matriarchal society (well the bulk of Feminists anyway, ignore the radicals). I think if this did happen, the whole world would have had their brains wiped, then socialised, quickly, in a world where the culture was one of female instead of male dominance. There is no way this will ever happen in a world so controlled by males.
In his winging about how unfair life is for males, who we need to remember, are less burdened by the relentless ties and pressures in society such as childcare, porn, work and health - he complains about the education system saying:
"If boys do better than girls educationally then it is argued that there is bias in the system. If girls do better than boys then it is argued that this is so because girls work harder and/or because they are more intelligent."I do Sociology, and this comment is without foundation. Numerous studies show that males are made to feel as they have to act masculine by their peers, and so are less likely to try hard at school. His claim makes out that Feminists are biological determinists who believe that women are naturally clever, so they are theorists who would support the racist and right wing Charles Murray Bell Curve argument. They are not! The biological arguments are something that was challenged by Feminists along with his sexist attitudes several decades ago.
To me, it is not Feminists who are twisting the evidence to demonise men, as he puts it, it is actually he who is demonising women with his twisting of the evidence and snide comments. He claims that there are two reason for Feminists being devil like. One being that they are all mainly lesbians (so you have to fancy other women to actually want to improve your own position in society then? I bet he quite likes lesbians however, if they are in a good old porn DVD!) who hate men because of past experiences. Well firstly, there are many Feminists who are not lesbians, it is not a requirement for Feminism. Secondly, it is not about hating men as he says it is, it is about standing up for things they believe in and things they do not want others to suffer from. The fact he has to accept is that, yes men are rapped, yes men do suffer from domestic violence and so on, but that they mainly affect women, and men do not have to suffer from half the pressures women have to suffer from, as I documented in a previous blog. He also believes that Feminists stir up hatred because they have to make a living out of it. Well what he forgets is the serious injustice in society that people with a moral compass are fighting to change. It is not equality, and it is not a happy arrangement to have 19.3% of Parliament as women, for example.
What his rant appears to show to me, is his fear that women and Feminists are making progress. He is sadly trapped in a time warp of the Victorian era and before, where women had so little freedom. His arguments are flawed as the basis of his argument, the definition of equality, is misconceived. He says that all that has been attempted to try to achieve equality shows how it is not attainable. Well to be honest, he needs to realise he is part of the problem. As I repeatedly argue, we never will get true equality, but to get further equality people’s attitudes such as his need to change.
Anyway, I have said what I want to say and feel better for it. I hope that he is one of a minority, as his views do little to help the needed cause for greater equality.
“...burden has got to be more on the rich countries than on the developing countries”
However, how long have we been talking about having an equal north and south divide? Well in mainstream debates, since 1987. However, we still feel it is necessary to have commissions after commissions, with the Copenhagen agreement being seen as, like the WCED 1987 was, the final chance to save the environment. Gro Harlem Brundtland is again charring the commission as she did the WCED, it seems as though history is repeating itself, with little learnt.
To clarify further, this is not a specific problem of the Lib Dems. This is a systemic problem in politics and society as a whole. Sadly, this will (in my opinion) never be resolved completely, but there is a way to push for greater equality, if not parity between men and women. The way men dominant politics makes it hard for women to mobilise themselves effectively within a party system. Policies such as Jo Swinson's Real Women campaign are useful, but will they ever become implemented? Does the leadership put it's full weight behind these types of proposals? In honesty, the answer is no.
This is why campaigns such as the Downing Street Project are useful. They cross over party lines and try to gather support across the political spectrum from women, who like me, often feel disillusioned with politics and the way women can be made to feel out of the debate. The party system itself therefore obviously has a key part to play in the isolation of women by all political parties, as it is hard when there is male dominance in local politics, for women to break through and make a mark for themselves. Even then, once they get into the top positions, as shown by Harman, it is still hard for them to speak about true equality without being shot down by the men who would rather Harman was a stunning young blonde, so they could at least have some gratification from what they don't want to hear.
Whilst it can be wholly disheartining and can make me distrust many more things than just politics, I think in paradox the way that women are often treated in politics, and how they often come across as endangered species with their low representation, actually spurs women on to try and change things so this is no longer the case. As stated above, I don't think that true equality will ever be obtainable; however, as stated above, there has to be some change to the way politics and society as a whole works. Far too often, women are made to feel as though they are second class citizens. Equality in terms of democracy and principles can be obtained if we strive together...
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
They clearly have ideas with foundation now, no way will 12 further years be required.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
The first signs of the new approach may emerge at next month's TUC conference in Liverpool, when Mr Brown and the Chancellor will call for pay restraint among top earners in the public sector, calling on them to match the belt-tightening in much of the private sectorBelt tightening in the private? So those big bonuses bankers have at mainly state owned banks, which would have crashed without tax support are examples of belt tightening? No! This is yet again, if it is true, is another attack on the public sector, much like the last few weeks with the Tories slaughtering of the NHS, even though the public have failed to see through it as they actually now trust the Tories more than the other parties with the NHS. It makes you wonder what would actually break through the Tories' facade. I wrote a blog recently about how our own position on the NHS has not been communicated as clearly as it should be either, and it is worrying, as if we want to be a serious election threat we need to engage in the key issues.
Trident is apparently on the list of Brown's cuts, but we all know it will only be a delay not eradication. I have argued repeatedly that we as a party need to be radically different to the other parties and say that we will scrap the scheme and NOT replace it by a cheaper alternative, as Clegg states. How is that going to help gain nuclear disarmament, we need to take these bold decisions to capture voters imagination, to show that we stick to principles, not what we think will settle well in the mainstream political world.
So, whilst it is encouraging that the Prime Minister has finally realised that we need cuts, the things they want to cut will be interesting to study. The cuts obviously wont include flagship but wasteful and costly policies such as the ID scheme and big brother databases. This is our chance to clearly outline our cuts, but hopefully as our party we will rethink our decision to drop key policies such as tuition fees to 'ambitions', and reassess our position on areas such as Trident.
Monday, 24 August 2009
Brown needs to consider the context of UK politics more when discussing third world rights for women...
If this isn't political opportunism, I don't know what is. Gordon Brown acting like he is a true promoter of women's rights? What, when his own female cabinet members say that he promotes a 'ladette culture', uses them as 'female window dressing', and fails to realise the extent of reform that needs to be done to Parliament in order for women to have equal representation.
Whilst this double standard is important to bare in mind, it is important to focus on the crucial points about universal women rights Gordon Brown and Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf highlight in their article, even if Brown fails to properly address these important issues in the UK political system. They are right to state that a fundamental human right, that of respect and self worth, is undermined significantly for women all over the world. Women are often treat like nothing more than objects, as we have gradually seen the sexulisation of women and sex impeding on women's life's more and more.
The article, whilst being applicable for women around the world, has a third world focus. However, the fact Brown has accredited his name to this article, just makes me feel a bit uncomfortable reading it as he calls for "boys and men...to join our cause [promoting women's rights] and therefore change their lives and our world," knowing that he is hardly the promoter of women's rights himself. For example, the article refers to Wangari Maatha, who has helped draw attention to climate change. But it was only yesterday that I read an article damning the British government for failing to have enough women in discussions around the environment and climate change, and actually referred to women as endangered species themselves within the environment debate.
It is important to give recognition to the various schemes outlined in the article that will be implemented to help women around the world, but the context of the argument cannot be forgot. A context of a UK political system, submerged with males, and any female who happens to raise her concerns around the set up is slammed for being a raving feminist. Thus, whilst women in the UK have more rights than those in third world countries, and there are some useful policies being suggested for promoting women's rights around the world, we cannot forget the struggle for women's rights in the UK either, as this battle is far from over.
In a fiery article, Janet Street-Porter demonstrates further the way in which women are isolated from top institutions and positions. She names and shames banks such as RBS, who should be more concerned with their representation after taking £20bn from the taxpayer, have no females on the board. So why is that? Well there is a complex set of reasons for why this is the case, and every time, such as Harman, raises their concerns and ways to tackle the problems, men (and some women) accuse her of being a radical feminist who needs to get off men's backs, as she isn't 'shagable' anyway.
She rightly pins blame on the government too, who should have included proposals for equal representation when settling agreements as they pumped billions of tax payers money in the system. Porter rightly remarks:
How can women take the majority of the consumer spending decisions in the UK, make up half the workforce and represent the majority of university graduates, but are still, in 2009, not considered to possess that vital gene necessary to sit in boardrooms up and down the land?I completely agree. Her idea of there being concrete ceiling is a truer reflection of women opportunity than that of a glass ceiling. In seriousness, yesterday I also referred to a concept that I feel is more substantive with explaining why women are prevented from getting to the top. The concept is labyrinth, which refers to how women have various pit falls all the way through their life, and so refers to wider ares of discrimination than just the top ranks of a women's career.
What this boils down to is simple. There needs to be more focus on the ingrained inequality in society that prevents many women from doing things they want and can do. This is the first article i have really read complaining about the settlements between the banks in terms of a gender inequality basis not a financial basis. Why should women taxpayers fund a system full of men? How is that equal representation? Something needs to be done, it is simply unacceptable.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
In response to a blog I wrote about the Harman debate, Kathryn Jones posted an interesting comment referring to a video about women in USA politics, and reasons for their lack of involvement in the political system. This blog will act as a summary of the video, as well as a comparison with the UK political system, as many of the themes that are discussed in the video ring true of the UK political system. For example, the USA political system only has 16% elected women, which is similar to our 126 of the 645 MPs being women.
The video mainly concerns a healthy debate around women's participation in USA politics, between Caroline Heldman, Martha Coakley, Katherine Clark and Kimberly Driscoll. Before the debate, however, there is an interesting discussion around the history of women's involvement in USA politics. It showed that the isolation of women and dominance of men in politics has not stopped women from trying to break through their oppression. For example, Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams, the second President of USA, said:
"if particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws, in which we have no voice, or representation."Thus, it is important to reflect on the important legal advancements that have happened, which is truer of the UK than the USA. However, what Adams says is still largely true, in practice.
Turning to the contemporary discussions of women in politics, it is obvious that Feminism is crucial for us to gain grounding in key equality debates, and push for more women to seek high political office. Caroline Heldman, who provided the bulk of research statistics and findings as a PHD student, said that the low level of USA women in politics in comparisons to other countries was because other countries allow more accessible paths to get to top positions. She said that this included the women's husband, for example, dying and allowing the women to take over their position. However, this is something that we do not have in the UK system, and is not something that the USA system should aspire to either. It is patronising, and defeats the object of getting women into office on the grounds of their own merit. The other path that she felt allowed women to get to top positions was for women to work through a political system, a political system that we ourselves have. However, as shown with the low number of MPs in our political system, this would do little to help women get into top positions. The male dominance is systematic through every aspect of these types of systems.
Heldman offered reasons for why women don't stand for office in the USA. Whilst her research concentrated on the USA political system, her findings provide a general oversight for why women around the world do not stand for political life, so can be clearly linked to the unequal gender political system in the UK.
Family obligations was a primal reason, as children are a big reason for why women do not persue a political career, whilst having children for men has little affect on their desire and ability to work. This is exactly the same in the UK. Sarah Palin in the USA is a good example of how the children line can be thrown at women to stop them from entering politics, as she was criticised for leaving small kids at home whilst she sought high political office. Why is it ok for men then? Well because of the systematic injustice towards women and perceived roles for men and women. Many women themselves hold these views, and so this shows how we need Feminism more than ever, to counteract these engrained detrimental views, and seek to promote women's interests so they are more confident to gain political office.
This links to the next reason given for why there is a lack of women in political office. This is confidence. Heldman said that women are less likely to have the confidence in their own ability and skill level to feel as though they are worthy of political office. This links clearly to the UK political system and recent media coverage around Harman and Clinton, which turned the debates about whether women are in politics or not to do with whether you would be able to have sex with them or not. So this takes the debate away from whether they have the skills to whether they look good, and this type of negativity just puts women off going for top jobs. Her research showed how girls and boys when younger, before having the full effects of socialisation, both have similar ambitions. Only when they reach a substantive level of the socialisation process do we see the ambitions of boys and girls change, with the girl’s ambitions and confidence declining, with the males wanting to obtain top political jobs. This simply needs to be challenged.
An interesting concept that the documentary picks on is that of Labyrinth, which Heldman says should be used instead of glass ceiling. After her explanation, I tend to agree with her, despite my earlier blog, which stated agreement with an article saying that the glass ceiling exists. I still agree with the principle of the glass ceiling, however, Labyrinth is a more substantive description of the gender inequalities that women have to face. It refers to various pit falls that women face, at various points in their life, so can be young or old, instead of the glass ceiling only really referring to what happens at the end of women's careers when they are stopped from climbing any further. The concept of Labyrinth can be clearly related to women and politics in an UK and a USA setting, as it refers to how women are more likely to face obstacles to getting into political jobs, especially top ones, throughout their life, from the start of the socialisation process to the end, with various pit falls such as having kids, and looking after elderly relatives as well as the traditional male culture surrounding politics.
This idea also links to the concept of double blind, which refers to the principle of being "damned if you do, damned if you don't". This is the concept that can explain the media bias that occurred towards Hillary Clinton and other influential women who act masculine, as they feel that is the way to break the mould and promote women's interests. However, as soon as they do, they are shot down by critics, for not being feminine enough. Interestingly, it made me think about the way most women in politics have short hair. On the women, for example, there was a series of images of USA political women and they nearly all had short hair, the same can be said for UK political women, such as Harriet Harman and Chloe Smith, for example. Apparently, the documentary claims that the heightened need for masculinity amongst political candidates happened after the 9/11, which is an interesting analogy, and something to bare in mind with the UK political system too.
When discussing why women get into politics, Martha Coakley an Attorney General, stated that women get into politics because of an issue they believe in strongly. Therefore, it leads one to conclude that if we mobilised the wider Feminist goal so more women believed in it, then maybe more women would get involved in politics and fighting for specific issues, instead of wrongly seeing Feminism as a practice for man bashing lesbianism. Therefore, this shows how we need to redefine what makes a successful political candidate, so what makes a successful mayor, for example - which was something Coakley drew on. For example, redefine political positions so they do not feel as though they have to work 90 hours a week etc to be successful in their job. This is something that Coakley feels is up to women to challenge and change, which frankly I agree with. This would help families with childcare responsibility, for example, however, a national childcare scheme in UK and USA would be better.
She rightly makes a good point regarding women being elected, which is that there sex is seen as a way to judge and compare their work with other political figures. In other words, if a woman was elected as a President and she was not well liked, people would most likely say, well look what happened when a woman was elected. This is very much what is said to me when I argue for women's rights, with Thatcher as the example of supposed women's incapability with politics thrown at me. However, if we have shoddy politicians that are males such as Bush or Brown, well have you seen anyone say, "we shouldn't elect a man again", or "it is because he is a man"? The answer is, a plain no.
There was also an interesting discussion around whether women's approach to politics differs to men’s. Heldman said that research showed women to be more liberal regardless of their political position, and that they are more likely to put women's issues at the top of their political agenda. This can be clearly shown with Harriet Harman's recent comments. Even more interestingly, due to this, women are more likely to address problems systemically whereas men are more likely to take the agency line. Maybe this is why the 'blame it on the people' Tories, are arguably the most sexist towards women out of the three political parties.
I will leave you with a quote from influential Eleanor Holmes Norton, which shows how women and men need to tackle collectively the position of women in society, and that women need to realise that institutions such as porn only serve to isolate them from society, not liberate them:
"If you're going to be a respected member of society, I don't know how you can let yourself get degraded."