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Monday, September 15, 2008

Glass ceilings

It all started on ITV Wales' Sharp End programme on Thursday or did it? Their political commentator was asked to talk about Kirsty Williams' candidature for the Welsh Liberal Democrat Leadership and reported that there was already a whispering campaign alleging that she could not do the job because she has three small children to look after.

Since then I have heard similar whispers alleging that Kirsty refuses to work weekends, that she puts her family before her party and more. I hope that these smears are not coming from within the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Nobody says anything of course about the fact that Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Gordon Brown all have small children. Nobody suggests that their young families prevent them doing their job properly, but then Wales is like that.

Our record in electing female MPs has been appalling and it was only the advent of the Assembly that broke the mould. If there is a glass ceiling for women in UK politics then it is doubly reinforced in Wales. The idea that a young woman can now lead a Welsh party is obviously upsetting some of the establishment. This sexism has no place in 21st century Welsh politics.

Kirsty Williams is one of the hardest working politicians I know. She needs to be because her constituency is vast and she works it assiduously. It can take over two hours to drive from one end of Brecon and Radnorshire to the other. I have not known her take a weekend off.

She juggles family and work brilliantly and there is no reason to think that she cannot do the same if she is leader. She will do the job her way as would be expected of any new leader and raise the profile of the Welsh Liberal Democrats higher than it has been for some time and for the right reasons.

Let nobody be in any doubt that Kirsty can do this job if she is elected to it. She is determined and single-minded in her resolve. The debate should revolve around what each of the candidates will bring to the table. Let us leave the rumour-mongering in the gutter where it belongs.
Glass Ceilings - I noticed a few years ago that the Local Government Data Unit (LGDU) for Wales stopped publishing figures on the number of Women in Snr. mgt. positions within our 22 local authorities in Wales.

One year they were recording it, the next it had been removed!!!!

Anything to do with the poor performance NPTCBC had at recruiting women to Snr. mgt. positions?
Kirsty works damn well hard for her constituency and party alike.
People must realise that women have a place in politics too. We need women in politics to show a true representation of our society.
These apparent rumors and whispers are sexist and derrogatory to women. Whoever is making them should be ashamed.
Sounds like a rerun of the sexist remarks made against Sarah Palin. This kind of thing is plain wrong and actually polarizes support for the target of such comments. I didn't have an opinion on this, but now I hope Kirsty Williams wins 'hands down' and is the next leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.
Comments like these usually come from people who feel threatened. Kirsty works hard. Just beacuse she is a woman with children does not mean that she is unable to do the job. A career, at any level, can be balanced with family life. Kirsty is someone who can be looked up to and is an inspiration to many women, especially those who want to get involved in politics.
Isn't she standing unapposed?
Nominations have not even opened yet so it is impossible to say Ian. I hope there is a contest.
Here we are in the 21st century and we still have people (mainly men I guess) saying a woman can't do the job properly as she has children to look after. As you say Peter - no-one ever says that about men in top jobs.

I suppose I just have to accept that, in my life time (I'm in my late 50s) women will continue to be discriminated against - for just being a woman, whether she is the best person for the job or not.
Good point,well made, Peter.
According to Betsan Powys it seems I have overestimated Kirsty and she is prepared to prostitute her principles and contemplate putting the Tories into government in Wales in 2011 (assuming the arithmatic allows her to).

I look forward to her explaining that one to the voters of Ystragynlais who make it possible for her to win Brecon and Radnor by voting to keep the Tory out.

Such commitments should make life alot easier for Labour in seats like Newport East. What plays for Clegg in English Tory marginals won't work here Peter.
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