Gender issues in Bootle and beyond – A guest posting from Jen Robertson

Recently Iain Brodie Brown commented on his Birkdale FOCUS (see link below) web site

birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/why-have-bootle-labour-got-such-big.html

about the astonishing lack of women being MP or Mayor of Bootle. Jen Robertson a young councillor in Maghull has her say about this:-

I share Iain’s outrage but not necessarily his solution. I don’t want to live in a world where the only way a woman can win is if men step aside. Seems more to me like what’s needed is a new outlook within politics and within society.

I can’t help but notice the one woman that has been Mayor of Bootle is referenced in the list as ‘Mrs’, none of the men were referred to as ‘Mr’, somehow they appear either to have deemed her gender or marital status to be relevant. I think it’s important however to take a step back and realise women are hardly the only discriminated against group. How many of those Mayors were non-Caucasian, or disabled, or gay or transgender? I could go on, but it would be a long list. The problem likely isn’t as simple as them all being men, it’s that they’re all probably the same kind of man. Perhaps, aside from the issues of gender, they were a more diverse group than I have realised but it seems sadly unlikely.

Education I really think is the only way to change any of this and it’s so much harder once people grow up. Our schools need to prioritise teaching the ideals of equality and diversity, and their importance in any society, in a positive and proactive way.

There is no point criticising the past for not conforming to modern standards, it is as they say ‘a foreign country, they do things differently there’, but when we can’t conform to our own standards then we become so much worse than the merely ignorant that have gone before us. Politics on every level needs a more diverse involvement, and, when it gets it, it will benefit politics just as much as it will society.

One thought on “Gender issues in Bootle and beyond – A guest posting from Jen Robertson

  1. Iain BB says:

    Jen raises some excellent points and exposes my offering for not being as comprehensive as it ought to have been. I would make a couple of comments.

    I would not accept I am judging what happened yesterday by the standards of today. Bootle has still not produced a women Mayor in the C21st or a female MP. In fact in the most recent period they have nominated the same man three times. It is also fair to point out that many boroughs had female mayors back as far 1908 and in Southport Christiana Hartley held the post in 1928. It is extraordinary to have gone till the late 1960’s until, what is still the only female, was elected.

    It would be fair to acknowledge that Bootle did have one of the first openly gay MPs in Alan Roberts whose time in Westminster was all to short.

    I take Jen’s point that other groups are under represented and she identifies some of the key ones. I also fully accept that education rather than rules are they way forward. On of the most striking excluded groups are those from less affluent background. The number of cabinet members in this government and under Tony Blair who were privately educated is vastly disproportionate to their presence in the population at large.

    Equality will not be arrived at by adding the girls from Roedean to the boys from Eton and Harrow. When did you last hear of a candidate educated at a Secondary Modern School being elected? Class is a real issue in this debate.

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