You accuse Jeremy Corbyn of engaging in non violent misogyny, despite his having appointed more women than men to the shadow cabinet. Why? Because there are no women in the ‘top jobs’.
Now I am a proud feminist, so why aren’t I cheering you on as you make these remarks?
I suspect you will say it’s because I’m a Corbyn supporter. I however, will say it’s because I don’t understand your point. Firstly, who has decided these are top jobs? Could it possibly be men? Maybe you can explain what makes the role of foreign secretary more important than education secretary? Isn’t the MP who fights for a decent education for all our children on a par with the MP who argues for or against airstrikes? Or are matters of war and peace considered more macho and therefore more important? The same goes for Health versus Home Secretary. Why is the MP who fights for greater security at home more important than the MP who fights for our precious NHS?
There is another reason your remarks rankle with me. I don’t pretend to know the ratio of men to women who voted for Jeremy Corbyn for leader, or Tom Watson for deputy for that matter, but I suspect it’s at least half. These women chose men over women. Were they too engaging in non violent misogyny, or were they focusing on politics and values when they made their choice, rather than genitalia?
Had there been a female version of Jeremy Corbyn standing for leader, I don’t deny, casting my vote might have given me an added thrill, but as it stood there were no female equivalents – or at least none prepared to stand at this time – and therefore it wasn’t an option. Jeremy won my vote because I believed he would be the leader who would fight for a fairer Britain. I believed that women, as well as men and children, would be the beneficiaries of that fairer Britain.
When it came to Jeremy’s appointment of John McDonnell into the post of shadow chancellor, I was thrilled. It was more important to me to have a shadow chancellor who was passionately anti austerity, than to have a female in the role. Does that make me a misogynist?
I would like to add, I voted for Angela Eagle for deputy. Not because she was a woman, but because of her strong trade union links.
While I am a strong believer in removing any barriers that hold women back from reaching their potential, and believe there is a need for all women short lists, I can’t see how it is misogynistic of Jeremy Corbyn to appoint MPs he believes to be best suited to these supposed ‘top jobs,’ especially when several female MPs ruled themselves out of serving in a Corbyn led shadow cabinet; any more than it was misogynistic of hundreds of thousands of women to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Watson or Sadiq Khan, over their female counterparts.
In 1979, millions of women voted for Margaret Thatcher, solely because of her sex. They mistakenly believed a woman would fight for women’s issues. How wrong they were. I consider it a positive that women based their choice for Labour leader and deputy, on who they thought would be the best person for the job. It demonstrates a growing confidence in our place in the world. To then have women, like yourself, shouting misogyny because there are not fifty fifty women in such a narrow choice of jobs, feels like a step back to me. It rings of lack of confidence. It says, if a woman’s not in charge of war and peace or home security, women are not important.
Well Jess, I respectfully disagree. We are extremely important. Far too important to panic over the lack of appointment of women into two roles left available after women voted men into the other two. We do ourselves a disservice to suggest otherwise.