This week, The Independent has run an interview with International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone – and no surprise that equalities feature strongly in her approach to the job:
Today we are talking about Zambia, from where she has just returned from a trip to meet victims of domestic violence, as well as the First Lady and the newly-appointed Minister of Gender, as part of her brief as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for International Development (DFID).
In Masabuka, Featherstone discussed ways to empower a population where 63 per cent of women believe domestic battery is justifiable. “It’s a culture that is so far from our understanding,” she says. “Gender-based violence is on a spectrum from the United Kingdom right across the world.” Even at the milder end, here in Britain, as many as two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner each week…
We meet at a conference in a stately building in Central London. At first sight the aid minister looks like she may be swallowed by a huge velvet curtain, but anything looking to obstruct this tiny tour-de-force would have a fight on its hands: according to one member of her staff, her dogged determination is the driving force behind her rise through the political ranks.
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