UK Politics: Cameron Axes Women from All-White Cabinet

Femficatio News
9th September 2012, 16:30 GMT

Pure left of liberal – that’s Femficatio. So to hear some Big-Wig Tory madams have been axed from David Cameron‘s cabinet is something of a tee-hee moment. Hey, what do you expect? This administration has done more to destabilise the average woman and child in the UK than any other PM in recent history  (massive cuts to benefits, increases in university fees and dismantling the NHS, including core safety organisations) – not to mention the Governments push to block the European Commissions plans for a 40% quota for women on large company boards. Tory is not the Women’s Party.

The most controversial of the firings was of the first Pakistani Muslim woman  Cabinet member, Sayeeda Warsi (better known as Baroness Warsi), the 41-year-old champion of the Conservative Party.  Baroness Warsi served from May 2010 to September 2012 as the Party’s  Co-Chairman, along with Lord Feldman, and a Minister without Portfolio in David Cameron’s Cabinet. She has now been removed from Cabinet and works as Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (a fancy title for a demotion), which see’s her right below William Hague. Her portfolio is now inclusive of her mother-country, Pakistan, in addition to the issues of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Central Asia; Human Rights; The UN, International Organisations and the International Criminal Court as well as all the Foreign Office business in the Lords.

Baroness Warsi Caricature on Muslim blog

Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire finds this hullabaloo around women axes to be a non issue, and that Cameron just needs to promote (or in the case of Warsi, place) the right women in the right jobs – which in her estimate he seems to be doing…

Interesting how Human Rights has been added to Baroness Warsi’s portfolio, when her Human Rights record is abysmal. In 2005, during her campaign, she was noted for making some pretty inflammatory statements, one of which was that Labour was “peddling” homosexuality to children as young as seven in the schools, largely due to the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 lowering the homosexual age of consent from 18 to 16. Any truth or concern in the lowering of consent age for young people was seen as pretty weak, as her campaign literature possessed statements such as “[Labour is] allowing schoolchildren to be propositioned for homosexual relationships” – a horribly inflammatory accusation that sees Labour as sexual deviants and homosexuality as a social ill that young people need to be protected from. Baroness Warsi has also taken the position that people who support the British National Party (BNP) have a “legitimate” point and that those creating any sort of humanistic rationale for the riots were coming out “with crazy excuse after crazy excuse”. And, in the wake of her government experiencing large cuts to families and the unemployed, she was implicated in pocketing thousands of pounds in hotel fees, while in fact she slept at a friend’s house.  Though some triumphed her strong position on the Rochdale child sex scandal where a group of 9 Asian deviants abused 47 girls, she sullied her stand for a number of people in the Asian community, as she validated a purely racial element to the sex crimes, stating that “[a] small minority [of Pakistani men do] see women as second class citizens, and white women probably as third class citizens…” Something her multi-millionaire father encouraged her to say in as many venues as she could find. The “small minority” statement doesn’t undo the sentiment that Muslim men are dangerous predators and violent sexists to women who aren’t in their communities. Yet, she has now been charged to oversee issues concerning Human Rights and Asian countries. Makes sense.

Other shake-ups include Caroline Spelman losing her job as Environment Secretary and Cheryl Gillan being removed as the Welsh Secretary. The 72-year-old male politician Ken Clarke, was also demoted from Justice Secretary to Minister without Portfolio. Theresa May stays right where she is as one of the highest ranking women in government while  Justine Greening went from Transport to International Development (a promotion). And still, the Tories retain their victory of Margaret Thatcher, the first party to see a woman leader make it to the  highest office you can aspire to in the UK (the Queen holds the highest, of course).

Theresa May still remains the highest ranking woman in the Tory Cabinet. Photo: BBC

There is a worrying aversion to women’s leadership in Westminster though, as a Labour insider told the Evening Standard  “There is a streak of male chauvinism which runs deeply through David Cameron’s government”.  And with Nick Clegg stating that politics is “deeply off-putting…especially to women” one would wonder if talks of possibly electing the ultra-conservative United States’ Mitt Romney could be affecting the UK’s governmental structure, moving it from a centre-right position to a more far-right posture.  But that’s just us speculating.

What should be noted, is that globally, while women have made tremendous strides toward power, there has been an increased attack on women in positions of leadership, and perhaps even a backlash. The reshuffle in the Cabinet and the talks to block the European Commissions plan for inclusion of a least 40% of women on Boards, in favour of a “voluntary scheme” will have tremendous impacts on women’s employability and set back the narrowing of the pay-gap wars.

Yet, with the most noticed women being the wives of Presidents and Prime Ministers, and not the women holding office themselves, I doubt many people would notice the reshuffle. With Tory madams, with their stands mirroring those of Tory gentleman… it’s really hard to count their departure as any great loss.

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