Whilst taking a stroll in the virtual village that is facebook I was alerted to a post which highlighted serious gender discrimination against two young female MP’s members of the Scottish National Party. The post showed a tweet from someone I’ve never heard of and who is no more or less than a misogynist with a keyboard.
I make this point because this so-called adult male called the two
MP’s snowflakes. The person concerned claimed that this is a term for the generation who have been to university and been told they were right all the time and that women who wanted to be MP’s should be told they can’t have children. As a transsexual
woman who can’t have children reading this made me very angry and illustrated exactly why feminism matters as much today as it ever has and probably even more.
I raise this point because this is a party political issue this is an equality issue. You see a few weeks ago I got uppity when the then Tory leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom attacked the now British Prime Minister Theresa May for having no children and claiming she would be a better Prime Minister because she was a mother. I thought to make that kind of thoughtless comment was bang out of order so if I’m capable of defending Theresa May a woman whose politics I completely and totally repudiate then you can be sure that I am far more capable of defending two young mother’s who happen to be member of the same political party and doing it with a lot more ferocity.
For anyone to say that if women can’t get babysitters then they can’t handle having children and therefore shouldn’t be MP’s shows a breathtaking arrogance of someone who quite clearly has an over estimation of their own importance not to mention a lack of empathy for the situation in which Alison and Kirsty found themselves in on this occasion.
The situation I refer to, was due to the fact that the united kingdom is not united when it comes to school holidays as Scottish schools stop for the summer holidays three weeks before their peers in England and Wales .
It was this fact and the lack of flexibility in Westminster’s childcare arrangements which caused the difficulties for our two MP’s. Two MP’s Westminster are very fortunate to have amongst their ranks. I say this as I know Alison on a personal level and am increasingly aware of Kristy’s growing reputation within the party as effective and diligent parliamentarian who represents her constituents to the best of her considerable ability.
It should be noted that both Alison and Kirsty served as councillors for 8 years before being elected to parliamentary as part of the SNP Scottish landslide in the 2015 UK Westminster General Election. During there time in their respective council chambers Alison in Glasgow and Kirsty in Aberdeen both women were able to take their children to work as and when required and no fuss was made about it. Westminster however, seems determined to live in the past on the issue of childcare with its inflexibility and rigidity being one of the main reasons why women feel excluded from mainstream politics.
To me it seems that someone needs to tell Westminster that this is the 21st century rather than the 12th and that politics can no longer conducted as if it was some sort of gentlemen’s club though god knows that won’t stop the Tory party from trying and child care is an issue they will use against women in their attempt to halt or even turn back the tide of progress.
The fact there online attacker had what he described as Conservative sympathies should come as no surprise to anyone. However this is an issue which transcends party politics and I’m glad to report that Alison and Kirsty have received strong support from their colleagues at Westminster many of whom know that something needs to be done on this issue. Indeed a female SNP member who down at Westminster on a prearranged visit expressed her shock as the lack of childcare facilities. It was those lack of facilities which led to Kirsty Blackman having to take her children into a committee meeting and be in my opinion unfairly reprimanded by the Westminster authorities for doing so.
I call this out as being unfair not because I am a member of the SNP but because as a former equality trainer and as a feminist I recognise rigid ridiculous rules when I see them. I call this out because in this respect I feel Westminster has a lot to learn from the Scottish parliament which keeps far more sociable hours and is much more child friendly in its practices thus allowing members to get more much needed family time with their children.
It is the arrogance of a Westminster elite which is not only resistant to change but openly hostile to it which I believe will be its undoing. It is my view that when rather if Scotland becomes independent we will have a fairer country for all our citizens and that women and men will be valued equally in all areas of our lives. The fight for gender equality is a fight we have to fight. Not only that it is a fight we have to win for every women who wants to enter politics and every young girl with a dream of a better world and the ambition to make it happen it really is that simple. To me there can be and must be no doubt about the fact child care is a feminist issue and it is only by treating it in this way that we will ever walk the path to progress and finally consign the rigid ridiculous rules Westminster are so proud to live by to the pages of as yet unwritten history books.
Love And Best Wishes