“Move over Nick” says Telegraph as Miriam Gonzalez Durantez launches women’s network

Liberal Democrats have known that Miriam Gonzalez Durantez has put considerable time and effort into supporting women within the party. She has now moved on to the national stage to launch a campaign, Inspiring Women, which aims to send 15,000 women to talk to 250,000 girls in schools about their careers and to encourage them to aim high.

Earlier this month, we covered her article in the Telegraph in which she explained why she wants to do this:

The new generation of girls are clever, engaged and curious; they are ambitious, but in a realistic way; they are not afraid of hard work and they are determined to shine. It is our duty to guarantee that all that potential does not go to waste. Those girls should not have to limit their dreams and feel constrained by absurd and demeaning stereotypes. They should rather feel free to aim high – high in their jobs, and high in their lives.

Female role models are there by the legions. You, the woman reading this article, you are one of them.

After the launch, the Telegraph ran a very sympathetic report by Emma Barnett:

Surrounded by her natural companions, other highly successful women, and a generation of school girls she wants to help, Mrs González Durántez spoke of her state school background and mediocre university experience. But instead of sounding like an attempt to woo the electorate, it just sounded somehow…real. I suspect because it was. Politicians should take note.

But she also displayed a keen sense of humour, lovingly teasing her husband about his privileged education. She reassured the schoolgirls that “she knew what it felt like to compete with people from more glamorous backgrounds” – the likes of Westminster and Eton, while shooting a look at an amused Mr Clegg, who was schooled at the former.

Brilliantly she promised to make headlines to keep the Inspiring Women network newsworthy, flashing a dazzling smile, as her audience laughed, hoping for a hint of what mischief we could expect. Mr Clegg at this point looked a bit nervous, probably silently praying he will be included in such plans first.

Going back to Miriam’s original article, she said:

 if you are a woman of any kind with an interesting life story to tell – which means pretty much every single woman in the country – all you have to do is to click onto Inspiring the Future to register to give an hour a year to visit a school near home or work to make a difference to young people’s lives.

It strikes me that this will apply to many of our readers. This party has many successful women who have run councils or departments with budgets of millions of pounds, who have a wide range of successful careers, who have stood for parliament, who have run community groups, who have built successful businesses. I hope all of them will sign up for the scheme to lift the aspirations of the next generation of girls.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • When are we going to have a similar campaign to lift the achievement of white, working class boys? It seems that their underachievement is an equally if not more pressing problem in the UK at the moment, yet it is not fashionable to talk about it.

    I know plenty of hyper intelligent (Oxbridge graduate) women who are high achievers until they have kids. They then look at the level of stress that pursuing a high powered career would involve and opt instead for working part time to balance it with their family commitments. If women want to make the personal sacrifices to favour their careers that men do, then I don’t believe there are huge barriers to them. It is just that often they decide it is not worth it to make themselves miserable in order to have a lot of money and a high status job.

  • RC has identified the wrong problem. As long as employers and the government insist on making women lead old-style ‘ men-shaped’ lives in terms of the timing of their career development, and failing to help men take a fuller part in raising their children, the resulting compromise will often be unsatisfactory for many.

  • Michael Parsons 27th Oct '13 - 12:12pm

    How would the world be better if some global company drivng down wages and dodging taxes had an extra woman on its board of directors? How would a party selling out to the Tories be better if the leader was Miss Cleggina? If Queer Theory is right and gender is unrelated to biological sex-status how would changing the physical sex of any group or leader have any effect at all?
    Perhaps feminism as an ideology is a middle-class diversion from the needs of the struggle for social improvement in the first place?

    I suggest that the way to combat injustice, be it of male domination or any other, is not to erect an alternative ideology (such as female excellence or working-class superiority) but to expose the merely ideological stance and the hidden interest- roots of the protagonists of the in justice in the first place. Situational moral analysis suggests that a Coalition run by two rich kids would be just as anti-social if they were both female in form.

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