The UK has a new Prime Minister. A(nother) woman Prime Minister at that. We feminists should hang up our placards now, right? The glass ceiling is well and truly smashed, yes?
After the almost Shakespearean leadership race, Andrea Leadsom’s idiotic motherhood comments, the obvious Thatcher comparisons and the media’s near-fetishistic obsession with Theresa May’s shoes, we finally got a new PM. Ok, so there wasn’t any formal voting process and it looks unlikely that the electorate will get any say on it until 2020 and the next General Election, but she is our new leader.
On the day Theresa May took up her new appointment a Facebook friend shared a photo of May and the Queen shaking hands with the caption, “Girl Power.” Now, I actually like the guy in question so I didn’t write “Oh, fuck off you clueless halfwit” in the comments (even though I REALLY wanted to). Instead, I elected to hide the post from my timeline and reflect on why it annoyed me so much.
Put simply, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. I don’t doubt that Theresa May considers herself to be a feminist, but whether her new appointment will be good for feminism remains to be seen. I’m not holding my breath.
In a world where there are more CEOs of Fortune 100 companies called Robert than there are female CEOs of Fortune 100 companies and where female fucking Ghostbusters is a leap too far for many; in a nation where only 29% of MPs, 25% of judges and 21% of high ranking police officers are female; and in a political party with only 68 female MPs to 263 males, a woman Prime Minister doesn’t mean a whole lot.
Theresa May’s cabinet doesn’t give me much hope either. Within the 22 strong group, only 6 are women. Seriously. Six?! Remember when the media bitched at Jeremy Corbyn for having a 50:50 male:female shadow cabinet, but not enough women in the big jobs? I can’t even. May’s cabinet was praised for having two women in the top four spots, but the dearth of vaginas elsewhere in the cabinet has been largely overlooked.
What can I do about it?
It doesn’t sound all that great, does it? Is there any hope? Yes, absolutely, but not without you and me getting involved. I’m not suggesting that you stand in the next election (unless you want to, then you totally should), rather that you support all those people out there fighting for women’s rights.
Join Liberty, Amnesty or the Fawcett Society and support their campaigns for equal pay, women in parliament and media portrayal of women. Share positive political role models on social media. Follow Mhari Black, Stella Creasy, Natalie Bennet, Ruth Davidson and more on Twitter and Facebook (even if you don’t always agree with their political stance). Speak out against patronising terms like “Blair’s Babes” and “Cameron’s Cuties” *vomits*. Email your MP about the issues that are important to you and make sure they follow through on their promises. Engage.
We can change the system when we get involved in large numbers and make our voices heard. We CAN have girl power in our country’s politics.
We need you to make it happen.
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