Tag Archives: everyday sexism

Everyday Sexism – a child’s experience

As the mother of three girls, I am constantly aware of the sexism they face. It is endemic in society.

Last week, having tea with the family, my 12-year-old daughter asks for another drink, and the waiter says, ‘Right away, young man.’ It happens to her constantly – she has a very short haircut, but that’s all.

On holiday in San Francisco last year, the same child was allowed to (dangerously) hold on to the bars of a streetcar, half hanging out the door, having the time of her life, with the staff …

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Unwelcome behaviour at Conference

As a long time conference attendee, I adore the opportunity to meet Lib Dems, old and new, and engage and enthuse with like-minded people. But sometimes behaviour boundaries are pushed and we need to make a note of them to remind ourselves to challenge insidious sexist behaviour.

On the morning of Saturday 17th September, Lib Dems received a message from the Conference office entitled ‘Conference Guidelines’ which sets out details of what is unwanted behaviour.

Contemplating this, I thought it might be interesting to relate some unwelcome behaviour I encountered. I want to do this anonymously, but am aware others have noticed similar issues and feel it’s important we stand up to and challenge incidents like this when they occur.

On one day I attended the motion on Social Security. Now, it was a strong debate, with lots of opposing views. But when making those views, it should be noted it’s unacceptable to refer to a female speaker as “darlin’”, no matter how well you might know that individual. The language is sexist and patronising. While I believe the comment was made in an attempt at friendliness, it is still derrogatory and quite simply, should be wiped out. It’s on a par to David Cameron’s “calm down dear” episode at PMQs, and where we wouldn’t take the insult from the former Prime Minister, neither should we take it from friends or acquaintances. 

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Two contrasting videos from the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign

Two contrasting videos from the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign this week.

The first for International Women’s Day – positive, strong, vibrant and a joy to watch:

And then a rather more boring one, with 6 facts. Yes, all of them are right, but look at the images that go with them. Who is doing the shopping and looking after the children?

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Politics, everyday sexism and why I won’t be smiling politely anymore

I’ve always been a feminist. I just never realised it ’til I started working in politics.

I was brought up with an older brother and sister, by gender/label blind parents. I’m proud of our working class roots (Fife, Bannockburn, mining). It gave us our unfaltering work ethic. A work ethic that keeps my brother in full time employment despite a rare condition that will eventually mean a liver transplant. A work ethic that keeps my sister in full time employment as a single mother of three. A work ethic that stops my parents surrendering to electric armchairs in retirement. Point being, I come from a family of strong willed, free thinking men and women. So the notion that I was a feminist never actually occurred to me because the equality I saw growing up was just a reflection of wider society, right? Wrong! Something I realised 16 years ago when I first became an MSP researcher. “Young filly” was how Middle Aged Male described me as he blithely enquired of my employer, “how do I get one?”.

I was 23. And appalled. But had to smile politely.

Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments

Two appalling examples of lack of diversity in our public services

Before anyone mentions it, yes, I do know that the Liberal Democrats’ parliamentary gender balance is horrendous everywhere except Wales and Europe,the latter being because we only have one MEP. Stuff must be done to resolve this, but that’s not the point of this post.

This week, two examples of lack of diversity in our public services have come to light. The first has been revealed by the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Only 1% of Scotland’s Police Officers identify as coming from a BAME background – and none make it to the highest grades in the force.

Figures obtained using freedom of information laws found that – despite 7.6 percent of Scotland’s population being BAME – there are no BAME officers in the top two ranks and only two across the top four ranks held by the 446 most senior officers in Scotland.

In total, there are only 175 BAME officers out of a total 17,515 police officers.

Figures for police staff showed that there are no BAME in the top five grades, and only 69 out of 5963 staff overall.

Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:

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    David, yes, but she might have favoured an alliance, Corbyn does not !
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