miss_s_b: (feminist heroes: DCI Gill Murray)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Look, I've gone over this lots of times before. The post from 2013 I link there lists seven pretty strong reasons to be against AWS; both principle (they're objectively wrong) and practical (they make the situation they purport to cure worse) reasons. If the party adopts AWS, I will be leaving.

Yes, something must be done about sexism. Yes, it's embarrassing that all our MPs are white men. That's because we've only got 8 of them. We had lots of women in "winnable" seats; the electorate didn't vote for them. We're really good at selecting women (or BAME or LGBT - we had one of each of those in Calderdale) candidates. Not so good at getting folk to vote for them. Also, we're really crap with the ableism - but working on it. AWS will do nothing to even pretend to address ableism, of course.

Just because "something must be done" DOESN'T MEAN THIS IS IT.

Apart from anything else, increasing the number of rich white heterosexual upper-middle class women at the top of our party will only salve bruised egos and make us have lady faces to put on the news, it will not increase diversity of thought or deed in any meaningful sense, and I am BLISTERINGLY angry that this hasn't got into thick heads yet. Have you people not been WATCHING the Labour party since they adopted this? The siloing of women into AWS seats so that the boys can have a free run. The promotion of women against LGBT and BAME candidates because once you've got one "minority" (and women are actually a majority) you HAVE diversity and don't need to worry. The tickbox culture.

And don't even get me STARTED on what this does to nonbinary folks - and Willie Rennie's clumsily worded "oh, we'll treat them like women" does NOT make me any happier on this.

I'm a feminist. I want to see an end to sexism. That is why I am against all women shortlists - papering over the cracks with a superficial non-solution doesn't solve sexism, it perpetuates it. Fuck that.

Date: Monday, January 25th, 2016 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] explorerlaura.blogspot.ca
As a rich white heterosexual upper-middle class woman who could benefit from such a policy, I largely agree. I don't feel like an oppressed minority, especially compared to the working-class male candidates that would probably be the most shafted by this (I say that because let's face it, the rich white heterosexual upper-middle class men are still going to be fine).

I also don't think the last election results really show us anything about our gender representation for obvious reasons.

Having said that, the situation is getting ridiculous and we do cop a lot of flag for it. I do think we need to do something. I'm not convinced this is it. We also haven't tried anything consistently - CGB used to run a mentoring scheme which I found really helpful when I was getting approved for selection, but it doesn't exist any more, so if there are people out there thinking 'I'd like to do this, now what', there's not really anyone to support them (unless they're on the leadership programme, assuming it still exists). I'd like us to try reviving the mentoring programme before AWS.

If we had 'all underrepresented groups' shortlists I'd be more open to it. e.g. the shortlist must be all LGBT+, women, people with disabilities or BAME - but not sure how it would work.

Date: Saturday, January 30th, 2016 03:48 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] sassy_scot
The problem with that approach is that the Equality Act only allows you to have all women or all disability shortlists, not for any other protected characteristic.

Date: Saturday, January 30th, 2016 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] sassy_scot
My understanding is that Willie's motion was worded after taking advice from LGBT+ Lib Dems.

I don't want you to leave the party, but, for me this is a really important issue the other day. If you're asking if it's going to cure sexism, no it won't. But it will get us a balanced team of candidates and, we hope, MPs.

And I know it hasn't eliminated sexism in the Labour Party - but it hasn't made what was already there any worse. What it did do is get a whole load of women elected who changed the agenda. In 1997 nobody talked about childcare - now it's right up there.

For me, the situate is now so serious in our party and across the country that it's almost a crisis of legitimacy. It's about time the voices of more than half the population were heard. And of course you have to take an intersectional approach. I don't think there is any evidence that this will just elect middle class, white, heterosexual women when coupled with serious measures to improve diversity in other ways.

We have done every other way, to death, forever and not got anywhere. Now it's time to go for what we know does.

All women short lists

Date: Monday, February 1st, 2016 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I don't agree with you and probably in another minority now. As someone who is also disabled and tried in vain to get into several roles in Wales as Non Officer Member of Local Health Boards and on other public bodies I know where the problem lies. These organisations don't actually want someone with a disability, women they can cope with but give them something else on top to worry about and they can't hack it.

Who have you been talking to if you think that sexism has got worse because of AWS? I believe it has given many a wake up call, they suddenly realised this was the only way to break the mould.

Being a women in public life is hard enough without having to fight every step of the way to get selected or elected. I think many women support AWS in all political parties but they get shouted down by people who like you argue that is only engenders more sexism.

We are moving backwards again in gender balance and overcoming all those other barriers that women have to battle against including the inequity of the pension scandal where women (like me) have lost what they thought was rightfully theirs, a pension at 60. One of many issues that the Lib Dems are ignoring at the moment in respect of women.
Jackie Charlton - huge supporter of the Liberal Democrats

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