It’s 2015 And An MP Has Used 'Woman' As An Insult
The Debrief: Then again, why are we surprised? Our very own Prime Minister once told a woman MP to 'calm down, dear'...
This year was a groundbreaking one, because we have more women MPs than ever before! It’s great news for progress – who better than a woman to make sure women’s rights are being looked out for at policy level? – but that progress seems to be treacly slow to move. Especially when dinosaurs like Alex Salmond – SNP’s former first minister – think it’s OK to chastise women in parliament.
While debating how many Scottish MPs should sit in the Scottish affairs committee, Anna Soubry said ‘Move on’ to Alex – this sort of thing isn’t unheard of in the Commons, people heckle and moo and jeer and wave pieces of paper at each other. It’s a way of letting off steam because, well, it’s so deadingly boring to have to talk about things like healthcare and foodbanks and the housing crisis all the time.
But Alex’s reply was… disproportionate: ‘The Treasury bench should behave better in these debates, she should be setting an example to your new members, not cavorting about like some demented junior minister – behave yourself, woman.’
It’s using ‘woman’ as an insult, like would you ever get someone saying ‘behave yourself, man’? Of course not.
Anna has now tweeted her discomfort at this:
Salmond can dish it out but he can’t take it!— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) June 4, 2015
Alex Salmond seems to think women should be seen not heard. His attitude belongs firmly in the 19th century— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) June 4, 2015
The worry about this is if it’s happening in our parliament, where some of the UK’s most powerful people are leaving him unchecked, well, you’ve got to wonder where else this sort of mindset – that it’s OK to insult and chastise women like this, in settings where they’re still underrepresented – flourishes.
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