Sunday, 11 December 2011

women and sport

I am catching up a bit here - there has been plenty of comment on this over the past week - but I can't let this one pass. An all-male shortlist for BBC Sports Personnality of the Year. How can that be?

I am not a fan of 'sports'. I like exercise, I like being outdoors but I pretty much avoid all organised sports and certainly what is on the box. Apart from Wimbledon when I become obsessed with tennis for two weeks and Andy Murray's biggest fan.

But even I have heard of Rebecca Adlington, Keri-Anne Payne, Chrissie Wellington, Sarah Stevenson and our own Katherine Grainger. And perhaps people like me would be more into sports if it wasn't so dominated by men.

It doesn't seem to matter that our women's football teams fare as well as, if not better, than the men's - our sports coverage is dominated by the male. Football, cricket, rugby.

Several of the women above have won gold. Now, as mentioned, I am a big fan of Murray, but he hasn't won a grand slam this year that I am aware of.

Even Richard Morris of the New Stateman can see the issue here. Not least that all of the people making nominations were themselves men. A bit of groupthink going on?

There are of course those who argue you shouldn't include a woman on any list 'just for the sake of it'. Yes, I did see Matt Gatward's comments in the Indie. First, it only seems that women can fall prey to the 'just for the sake of it' line. You don't hear that one being used for blokes. Also, there is no 'for the sake of it'. These sportspeople are top in their chosen fields. It isn't a wooden spoon to recognise their achievements.

What could be argued is that - as the Indie stated - they are successful in less high profile sports. In other words, in sports that don't have the financial clout of football or the 'audience' of rugby etc. But then, the two elements of money and sport are male dominated. A perfect storm.

The BBC has announced they will review the list whilst defending the current system as independent and fair. Yes, about as independent and fair as everything else is for women - that's why we still get paid 18% less than men, will be worse off under Cameron's cuts and lose our jobs when we have children. Because all of the systems that cause these outcomes are gender neutral. And having Nuts and Zoo magazines represented on the shortlisting panel ensures a balanced approach [publications where the content and understanding of that content by their readers can barely be distinguished from the viewpoints and opinions of convicted rapists].

On the run up to the London Olympics the message of support and acknowledgement of women's achievements in sport is clear. We don't dislike it when you win - but don't expect merit, that old chestnut, to count when it comes to awards.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

the salmond speech - gender neutral?

I was at home for Alex Salmond's speech - and interrupted our test run of the new Dance Central game to watch it. Yes, just moments before the most important speech at a party conference this year we were bopping away to Haddaway's 'what is love'. What an image.

Now, I love me some party conference coverage but even A was keen to see this. He is always up on current affairs but is not so far down the spectrum to have 'political anorak' attached to him as I do. So the first point of note for me was that I think this might be the first time we have shared the same level of eagerness to watch this kind of speech.

The second thing is that at no point during Alex Salmond's oratory did I feel conscious of my gender. I didn't realise this until later on but usually there is at least one - if not several points during these kind of speeches - where I shout at the TV over gender issues. Usually it is when 'family values' are mentioned [usually shorthand for women doing it all for less and with little acknowledgement], 'single mothers', 'maternity leave', 'abortion' or anything to do with wages.

It made me wonder if it is because of the language used - that Salmond doesn't deal in the psephology of voter groups in the way others do. Or because in fact the SNP hasn't yet cracked the issue of the lasses. PeatWarrior posted a well researched piece last year on the SNP and women and - not surprisingly - we see that there is a gap in support both for the SNP and for independence itself between men and women [women are always less inclined - this could be the basis of a sexist joke for lazy comedians]. Is this because the voter group is 'Scots' and at the moment with independence and constitutional issues being to the fore it is more about Scots as a voter group in and of itself compared to other parts of the UK, that it is unionist versus republican versus federalist?

There was plenty in his speech that could speak to women in traditional policy areas - new schools, more training for young people, help for those in fuel poverty. The fact that women don't like seeing their sons and daughters being killed in illegal wars [I know, neither do fathers].

All parties face challenges around women. How many are members, how many hold senior positions in their parties, how many are elected. No-one has cracked it yet. Westminster is a sea of suits with David Cameron using school boy insults towards his female parliamentarians - even those in his own party. So the SNP can't be charged with being the only party that may have an issue. Susan Deacon, Wendy Alexander and Cathy Jamieson all cited the male culture of politics and of Parliament as key issues for them. Annabel Goldie suffered comments on her personal life for being single [which I perpetrate below but only as an example]. The tories like a woman who is 'male' in her approach and has a signature female 'item' [Thatcher/handbag, Theresa May/leopard print kitten heels, Annabel Goldie /doughty spinsterhood]. Jo Swinson flies a lonely flag for the lib dems. The only party I can think of where I could say a strong female role model has been supported is the Greens in Caroline Lucas.

This lady just stole my milk...

The SNP has some strong women within its ranks. Roseanna Cunningham, Shona Robison, Fiona Hyslop [taken a battering recently but seems to be rebounding], Aileen Campbell and of course, Nicola Sturgeon. Sturgeon is steely - I can't recall her using her gender to political ends. Normally I abhor comment on women's looks and dress. But I can't help it this one time. Sturgeon also has a wardrobe edited mainly it seems from Hobbs - a good look, I am quite jealous [she would rock the new NW3 collection] - she looks like herself. Not like someone caught between gender, politics and identity like so many women in politics seem to be - and not of their own doing. Sturgeon doesn't handbag because she doesn't have to.

Is this a sign that the SNP is getting it right for women? What I am trying to wrestle with is this. Is it that Salmond's speech just didn't address women at all in any sense or is it that it speaks to all in Scotland regardless of gender? It seems that one of their own female delegates finds the SNP a family friendly place to be - maybe my ears are just not quite attuned to a new way of discussing these issues.

Salmond's speech spoke to me of being Scottish, of a vision of Scotland. It was a brilliant speech - but I will cover that in a different post. What the SNP need to do now though is think about who the Scots are beneath broad policy statements. Because until he does women will not be as positive about independence or about the SNP as the men are - and there something about how the way in wich we treat women and children tells us about the kind of society we are. Salmond wants the Scots to set their own agenda. And this is not a negative criticism - more it is a statement of what I hope to see happen - I want that agenda setting whether for independence or not or the direction thereafter to be set by all Scots - not just one gender.

Friday, 21 October 2011

london to inverness - will I need my passport next time?

I have been working in London this week - at our Camden office - so I have been living the London life of working hard, negotiating the always hot and bothersome tube, strange pub hours and explaining that the SNP is not a Scottish version of the BNP.

I then boarded my train back to Stirling, for a quick sleep and clothes change, before I get picked up for our policy and public affairs road trip to Inverness. All day yesterday I thought three things. Brilliant - some fresh highland air to re-oxygenate the brain. I hope it isn't too cold. And, what kind of mind set shift, if any, do you need to make when moving from one end of the UK to the other.

The first thing is that I will not need to be so conscious of my Scottish words - I used 'driech', 'dwam' and 'smirn' during my three days in London and each time was met with questions about what these words mean. I think 'smirn' is used in the north of England too - although I am not sure - so I am aware that what I think of as Scottish words may be used by Scots but not necessarily owned by them [a bit like banks. I may have an RBS account and use their cash machines but I don't actually have shares in them nor do I feel as a Scot I have responsibility for the global financial business that is the RBS]. I love explaining Scots words and sharing my culture - I also prefer to do it where that sharing is supported with genuine interest and respect. I am not saying it wasn't, but there have been times in the past, with different groups of people, when it feels more like the questioner wants to tease and make fun rather than genuinely understand. Maybe that is my own Scottish cringe though colouring my interpretation.

There is also the cultural approach. It is a generalisation, but in several meetings this week I was conscious of the bluntness, the get-to-the-pointness, that Scots seem to have a wee bit more of than our English cousins. We assume that if we are round a table it is because we all have something to say - so let's say it. I saw Alex Salmond on BBC morning news saying [I paraphrase] 'It isn't difficult to understand devolution - what's the problem?' and poor Bill Turnbull looked quite pale at this direct pointing out that for us devolution isn't a particularly difficult idea to get our heads around and when we find people who don't we will address that head on.

I don't always conform to my national stereotype. I had one colleague point out that my email tone can be overly chatty and doesn't always nail deadlines and what I want from people. I didn't say this to them at the time, but that is in part because I am compensating - evidently over-compensating - for my natural communication style. It also made me wonder if I change that style just a wee bit or quite significantly between my Scotland based and London based colleagues. Needless to say I am now going to just go with my own 'voice' and deal with the response as it comes.

As I wait for the toot of the horn that lets me know my lift is here - and contemplate whether Inverness requires full blown winter gear and therefore me seeking out my wellies and abandoning my carefully selected suede shoe-boots - I feel a distinct lift in my mind that I am going to an event that could redefine how we Scots see ourselves and our nation evolving over the next few years. And I can say 'isn't it dreich?' to other attendees without explaining myself.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

rigging the referendum

I was inspired by Twitter posts and a post from burdzeyeview this afternoon while on the train from Glasgow to London - fitting really - though when I say inspired I may mean 'got all het up'.

Labour thinks that the SNP wants to allow 16 and 17 year olds get to vote in the referendum because it will be the youth 'wot won it'.

I have never been that bothered about breaking up the union. Up until a few years ago I just thought that it was generally unfair how the Scots got treated. I hadn't pondered on it long enough to form a strong opinion and in the main adhered to an uneducated federalist type of a view. I pretty much like people to get on with one another and work together so my natural bent is towards sticking together rather than splitting up. Although having seen some friends break up with unsuitable partners and come out the better for it, splitting up is hard to do but possibly is short term pain traded for long term gain. Maybe this lack of seeking out in detail my views on independence was a flaw of mine, but, boy, am I making up for it now.

I have almost always worked for cross-UK organisations, the most recognisable being that of the Scottish Parliament, itself a deeply embedded part of our constitutional settlement. Across all I experienced brilliant and supportive working relationships across the UK, a certain amount of currency in being Scottish [tends be seen as a positive even given our stereotypes] and a fair amount of anglocentric misinformed nonsense about what living in a four nation UK is all about.

Despite not being sure myself exactly where I fall in the love triangle of union, federalism and independence, I have a strong enough interest in politics to follow others closely. I love a debate and often would take contrary positions just to have a good old 3am discussion fueled by red wine. I also thoroughly enjoyed cross party meetings between the four legislatures in the UK. I am fascinated by how our United Kingdom works politically.

I did know that I wanted a Parliament and believed passionately in devolution. The devolution campaign was my first and highly enjoyable foray into national political movements. I believe that people should be responsible and accountable for their own communities within a progressive legislative framework. My last day at work in the Scottish Parliament [in a non-political and politically restricted post by the way] was heart wrenching not just because I was leaving a much loved job but because I was leaving the Parliament itself - I would no longer be a daily part of our national political life.

So - I am not someone who was brought up living and breathing a Scottish cultural and national identity. I am not a member of the SNP. I didn't personally see devolution as a step towards inevitable divorce from England.

I am someone, though, who cannot stand a small group of people playing with other people's democratic rights to score points over another political party. I have always and vehemently believed in the vote at 16 - no taxation without representation. And with this age group being one of our most marginalised and maligned I am angry at their use as a political football. To be honest, if the referendum debate boils down to this kind of point scoring to keep Scotland in the Union then that is the finest argument I have heard to give the vote to 16-17 year olds, hold the referendum and divorce if that is what the electorate decide.

In some places in the world people are fighting to be able to vote at all. In the UK we fight over whether developing and extending our voting rights to people who pay tax might give a result the powers that be might not like. I find that scarier than independence.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

having. it. all.

We know women are supposed to be able to 'have it all' and alongside that for everyone to gasp 'I don't know how she does it'. Well, I am not going to review the book or film. This is a review of one person trying to reach that mythical place where you sit with a glass of wine in hand and go 'everything is done, achieved and I feel no guilt'. However, a bit like unicorns, this seems to be something you wish so hard would exist and yet, well, disnae.

I started this blog with the best of intentions. I set myself a goal [what doesn't get measured doesn't get done and all that management speak milarkey] of at least two posts a week. I thought this was very achievable. After all, daily there are many things to comment on re politics and the wimminz. Supply outstripping demand is usually a good thing. But my demand of myself outstrips my supply of time and brainspace to damn well blog.

There are things of course that I must do - go to work, wear clean clothes, cook dinner, sleep. If I don't do these then the basics of life get a bit awkward. Then there are things I feel I should do to be a rounded individual. Read the Sunday papers, go to the gym, do a spot of shopping, watch Newsnight, have some music on my ipod beyond the heady days of 90's grunge. See family, friends and spend quality time with that guy I sometimes bump into who I married.

Then there are the things that I don't need to do to survive, or to pass as a reasonably functioning human, but are supposed to be the rewards of achieving the first two steps. Watching Jason Statham movies. Learn to knit. Blog.

When did all three of those steps become 'must have'? That on top of all that I must also do a PhD, learn a couple of languages, travel extensively, bag several Munro's and pop out a family of kids who can do all these things too? And if you don't you must cultivate a constantly present low level state of guilt that every so often, just as you think you can relax, will engulf you and thereby reduce your relxation time to around 30 seconds.

I am not bothered about blog hits or bagging some kind of 'book deal about how I became famous through my blog' [not knocking it - it just isn't my goal]. So how ironic is it that a blog with a feminist slant becomes part of my 'having it all' - or, more accurately, 'doing it all even though the world won't stop turning if you don't' burden?

So - as the washing machine beeps to tell me the cycle is done, the timer on the cooker counts down to dinner being ready, and the guy I married because, you know, I like him, pours a glass wine and tries to talk to me I have decided. I like blogging but it has to be on my own terms - that means some weeks it will be a flurry of stuff - others there will be zilch. And if I need a Sunday snooze on the sofa a blog that purports to be in support of women will not stop me.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

this is a party political broadcast

There I was, running on the treadmill and concentrating on not falling off or singing out loud to Pulp's 'Common People' on my ipod when the Conservative Party Political Broadcast appeared on the TV screen. Despite my gym soundtrack the dulcit tones of many Tory talking heads broke through 'she told me that her dad was loaded' and informed me of every party political broadcast cliche in the history of bad party ads.

Except they missed out 'you can't hate us if we talk about famine and people dying in Africa'.

Their PR guy should get a bonus [after all, big fat bonuses are what make the world go round...] - which he should then promptly donate to the East Africa Appeal. It is a clever ad on one level - 'look, we know PPBs are a bit naff and predictable - here is something unpredictable - Conservatives caring about international aid'. Yes. Is that what they were aiming for? I just don't know. But predictable formatting is how I like PPBs so I can dispense with thinking about format and focus on the content. A chance to hear each party's policies from the comfort of your sofa [or discomfort of the gym in my unfortunate case] because attending all the party conferences and analysing their detailed policy documents is a bit of an ask if it isn't your job to do so/your particular brand of relaxation. If anything they have overly proved their point. PPBs use a lot of gimics and hooks - here is a brand new one that hasn't been used before!

The thing I found most worrisome is that I genuinely didn't know how to react beyond running that bit faster when Terrorvision's 'Fists of Fury' followed Pulp and trying to ignore that sinking pit of stomach feeling. And it seems from the comments on Twitter and Facebook that many people are just as gobsmacked at the chutzpah of the PPB.

I don't know if it was meant to divert us from what is really going on with Tory policy, make you feel bad if you groaned at the start of the PPB because how evil are you if you don't care about people dying in Africa, or - more shockingly - is genuine.

Now, a caveat here. There are Conservative party members and elected representatives who do and have cared about international aid and been good politicians and representatives - disagreeing with a lot of Conservative policies doesn't mean I can't recognise hardworking elected representatives. I firmly see this PPB as being about David Cameron's leadership, his senior team and an attempt at diverting our attention away from the party's policies on health, education, justice and welfare. I actually like PPBs. I have even been known to Sky Plus them during elections. Because I actually do want to know what the policies are and the thinking behind them. I may have a natural lean to a collective, social approach to policy but I am not a die hard and can be open minded and see positives across the political spectrum [well, not the extreme parts of it - I'm not like that].

And, while I haven't analysed this thought further, it occurs to me to wonder what the response is from the Scottish Conservatives to this PPB.

I am not in any way against people raising the profile of the East Africa Appeal. I would like to see politicians highlighting it. I have no problem with Conservative politicians mentioning it at every possible opportunity. I do object to their apparent support of it being 'launched' through a PPB. People dying is not fodder for a PR stunt. I would have preferred some policy content on how the Conservatives will make sure corporates will deal fairly with people and organisations in East Africa.

At the end of the day, if you need an advert to tell people you care about East Africa and want others to care too when you are running the country something ain't right.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

off line

Yes - I have remiss - I started the blog then work took up pretty much all of my time and what was left was given over to sleeping and sourcing clean clothes. Next week hope to be up and running again properly...

Thursday, 25 August 2011

lucy stone

I came across this after following a myriad of links while surfing t'internet [so I can't remember what kicked it off]. I hadn't really given much thought to who took the first step in this and I had never heard of Lucy Stone. It would be interesting to know how many women no longer take their partners surname - and what the trend is in civil partnerships...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

women at the top

It is not news that women are still hitting a glass ceiling. What is different is how people define and talk about that glass ceiling. In the Guardian, in the response ot the publication of the Sex and Power survey 2011, I saw an intersting take on it.

Heather McGregor of the 30% Club – a group committed to bringing more women on to corporate boards in the UK and something I support – said "It's not a glass ceiling stopping women from getting to the top, but the fact that they are less likely to build networks, focus on their career priorities, and spend a substantial proportion of their time on their own PR. How will you ever be picked for a good job if no one knows about you?"

And this is where I get a bit annoyed. Women not doing something is not the same thing as saying there is no glass ceiling and it is all their own fault. People often don't do things precisely because there is a glass ceiling - but it is always easier to play the 'if you would only go out and do xx you wouldn't have a problem'.

I take the point that networking and having the contacts is important - but for me the question is why is it that women are not doing this and how do we address that rather than blame women wholesale for it.

My own view is that the reason women don't do this is linked to the patriarchal society we live in. Women are not socialised to 'big up' their work and skills in the same way men are - and we know that this has an impact on their salary as women are less likely to argue for a pay rise or to negotiate at the time of appointment to the same degree men are. It is acceptable for groups of men to range about golf courses on a Friday afternoon as part of their networking or to meet up for drinks or social events where this kind of networking can take place. When women are faced with the majority of the domestic and caring responsibilities popping out for some drinks to network is probably not that viable.

From my own experience my partner is very supportive of this aspect of my career. But I have met with comments from those I am networking with that are not. I have been asked 'where is your husband? and had comments along the lines of 'is your husband ok with you being out without him?'. I often get mistaken for someone's partner rather than the person who they should be networking with. Incredible in this day an age you may think - but it is there. Then there is the view that when women are doing this kind of activity they are 'gossiping' and that it is not seen as work. I have lost count of the times I have been teased for having coffee with contacts as though I only do this to talk about nail polish and the latest Sex and the City box set. Although it seems acceptable from men to talk about non-work related stuff like sports and cars when they network [yes, I know this is generalising].

I was once advised to mug up on football and other sporty ativities so I could hold a conversation in male dominated groups. First, I find it patronising to men to assume that they would not be able to converse with someone who doesn't know every score from last Saturday's games. But I also found it weird that there is no corresponding duty on men to study late into the night about what I am interested in to network with me. The onus is on women to fit in - not on social interactions to be based on the individuals who are there.

There is a final issue. This may just be me, but when I do network I am very aware of my gender on two counts. First, whether I will experience discrimination because I am female and sexual harassament because of my sartorial choices. Second, if it is an evening event I think about my safety. How will I get home? Will I be travelling with a group or on my own? Is it the last train out of Glasgow - in which case you won't see me networking on an evening when there is an Old Firm match that day. As I grow older I feel more comfortable about my clothing choices - after all, assault is wrong no matter what you wear and 'she had a short skirt on' is not a defense. And I have learnt through my own experience and report after report on sexual harassment and sexual assualt that jeans and a hoody do not protect you.

Neither of these issues should hold water in the 21st century - but they do.

If the reason women are not progressing is because they are not networking then a culture where women can't access that is part of a glass ceiling. Yes, there are cracks in the glass but we aren't breathing fresh air yet.

Monday, 22 August 2011


That's me started then - off into the blogosphere and within a short space of time started getting tweets on my first post - very exciting and a real boost to my confidence and the idea that this lark isn't just some weird compulsion without any real point to it.

And then there was a tweet about whether the blog was intended to be anonymous - a very valid question and the person who posed it was willing to delete tweets if I had made a mistake in my blog settings - a kindness many might not have offered.

I had thought about it, the sharp, secret and serious blogger yet to be unmasked with the silver tongue [oh dear, getting carried away], making a small dent in the world of 'lady blogging'. I thought about what people I know would say - would my workplace sack me, my colleagues look at me askance, my outing as quite the opinionated feminist result in a drying up of social invitations?

I have a role that does require careful thought - director for a charity brings with it responsibility. I am apolitical in my role and fight for people with diabetes - that is my primary role and aim. I take that seriously. I also have friends and family that probably don't want to see me fireballed by trolls who aren't keen on my views.

But I also thought about why I wanted to blog at all. Well, the 'about the burd' section of said burd's blog contains a line - "So here we are, a year on, and still a shortage of burdz on the Scottish blogosphere casting their beady eyes over all things political, topical, economic and social. Hey ho.". It chimed with me - because I felt that same shortage of voice - not just in the blogosphere but in other arenas too. And I have spent my fair share of airtime at work, at home, or over a glass of wine, decrying the parlous state of female affairs despite how far we are told we have come. As a female in a senior management role I also feel a responsibility - I can't quite define it but I feel it.

Being 'anon' would bring a certain amount of freedom - I could say what I like. My typos and mispellings would not haunt me. My gauche attempt at writing with meaning could be swaddled in the knowledge that the two or three internet surfers that happened across it would not know it was me.

I think it is an entirely valid position to take. It is valid if you are oppressed and fear further admonition through speaking out. Many would argue women still fit this category in many ways. But for me I cannot occupy it. Voices of all types and genders, race and social class, are drowned out by the inequality and unfairness in our society, in our world. If I can't be open - white, educated, in employment, the fruits of being born in the first world bestowed upon me - what does that say? It says that it is time to speak out. Politely but firmly. And without losing my job [did I just dissemble?].

I was and am inspired by strong women and the men who were and are strong enough to know that working together is infinitely better than not. I may never be one of those women but if I can catch a coat tail and at least be part of it and not stand by watching it that will be enough for me.

So - as they say - 'views are my own'. And thank you for reading.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

go reggie

Spotted this article in the Guardian - Reggie Yates is taking part in the Women's Aid Real Man campaign on domestic abuse.

At the end of the article he says "I'm not sure if I would call myself a feminist. I just know that I respect women and that's the most important thing to me." This interests me because I reckon if you think the last sentence in that quote then you are a feminist even if you don't call yourself one. And why that leap seems so vast.

Then you scroll down into the comments - always a dangerous thing to do even in the Guardian - and you see why this is the case.

No wonder he isn't sure whether he would call himself feminist - as many women find the response is not always positive. Good on you, Reggie, for being a real man and being honest.

Friday, 19 August 2011

a levels, pretty girls, not surprised

A level results came out this week [so no doubt I will have spelling/grammar errors in this post that spoilsports will spot and say 'see what happens when you dumb down the education system and take away rote learning and the strap?] as did the expected flurry of pictures in the press of young girls jumping for joy - young, blonde, slim girls. Usually in white vest tops.

Now, I wasn't surprised because I am a dour feminist sensitised to every possible insult against women real or imagined. The press however, in a real quine of a story, reported on the a levels using such pics, then reported on the pics being used and what it might mean, then pointed out we all knew this last year.

And a whole tumblr has birthed on the subject of sexy a-levels which proves - through, of course, publishing pics of the very thing it proposes to be exploring - the hypothesis that no a levels story should be without some leaping ladies.

There is a whole other train of thought - that no-one should get all twitchy about young, barely legal girls being photographed mainly by blokes old enough to be their fathers encouraging them to jump, hug and smile, smile, smile because -

"Spotty oiks [the author means teenage boys] don't take much of a picture, and anyway girls get better exam results. They also express emotion in photographs and boys, with the best will in the world, just don't."

and -

"Firstly because A-levels are like popularity - important when you're 18, and for the rest of your life you couldn't care less. And secondly because the sight of a happy teenage girl with a whole life of possibilities in front of her is one of the most magical things you'll ever see."

followed by how crap the whole world pretty much is for girls, so please, feel guilty that -

"In India if you're a girl you're lucky to survive to 18. In most of Africa school is an expensive luxury that comes a long way down a parent's list. In China a girl will probably be aborted if her parents can afford it, and dumped after she is born if they can't. In fact, while we're busy bewailing pictures of successful young kids in the newspapers covering our tiny, self-important part of the planet, there are 100million women in the rest of the world who have simply disappeared."

but you are spending your time worried about pics of girls getting their a levels. First world problems, people.

The things is, the article above actually has valid points to make. The world is a hell for women in many - and varied - ways. There is a gulf between not even being born because of your gender and being photographed to sell newspapers on exam results day. I get that. But ultimately it is all part of the same package - exploitation and abuse of women and girls. It isn't two separate issues - just different degrees of burn. But not mentioning the a level pictures doesn't - in some kind of magical trade off - mean the 100 million the article states have disappeared will magically reappear. Or that one woman or girl destined to disappear will remain. Not one of them will.

So - rather than argue the toss [sorry, I know, I kinda just did that myself] why not say 'yes, this is unacceptable - and by the way these other things are unacceptable too - how 'bout we do something to change that too?'. Then we get to change the world instead of argue ourselves round to next year's exam results and find ourselves smack-bang in amongst the same spaghetti junction discussion we thought we were working our way out of. Not much learning going on there, is there?

Friday, 5 August 2011

the lass o' pairts

The lass o' pairts is a girl or woman with some smarts about her, a promising lassie, a young woman with some talent to her name. Scotland has a long tradition of tough, smart women. But we still are underepresented in Parliament, in business and in public life. And we still get paid less for the work we do.

I love my work, am intrigued by politics and current affairs, and want to be a strong woman taking her part in what Scotland is about. And I want to reclaim the 'f' word and have a voice in the issues that affect everyone without having to consider my gender first and navigate it as an obstacle.

So this blog combines my thoughts and comments on politics and current affairs with a healthy dose of feminism.