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Don’t confuse the Conservatives’ embrace of female leaders with feminism (The Guardian)

You wait 26 years for another female Tory leader and then two candidates come along at once. Between Margaret Thatcher’s resignation in 1990 andDavid Cameron coming to power in 2005, the Conservatives had seen six leadership elections featuring 14 candidates, with not a single woman to be found on the ballot. Yet here we are in 2016, with Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom fighting it out not just for party leadership but for the keys to No 10 too. … Read More

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Why putting women on banknotes should make us feel uneasy (The Guardian)

What do Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale and the Forth Rail Bridge have in common? The answer is not the punchline to a highbrow joke: they have all been recipients of the apparent honour of appearing on some form of currency.

The issue of who should be worthy of such an accolade is a conversation that has come to the fore again recently with a widespread recognition that women are traditionally under-represented on banknotes. Canada has subsequently welcomed open nominations for women to appear on them; the US has announced the inclusion of escaped slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman; and the Royal Bank of Scotland has now put playwright and novelist Nan Shepherd on its £5 note, along with scientist Mary Somerville on the £10. … Read More

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5 Reasons I Won’t Be Joining the Women’s Equality Party

When Sandi Toksvig and co. announced they were starting the Women’s Equality Party, I didn’t have especially high hopes: the three white, middle-class women at its helm rang some bells about who might be excluded and, besides, I’ve never been convinced that radical feminist action is best achieved inside the fundamentally oppressive framework of party politics. But I – perhaps naively – did think that with the right people involved from the start in shaping policy and direction, perhaps the WEP could be a force for good. Their policy launch this week, though, sadly did very little to exceed my already low expectations. Here are some of the reasons why.  … Read More

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More women MPs is no silver lining to a Tory majority

If your politics are anything remotely close to mine, you’ve very probably also spent today in a cyclical state of delirium, heartbreak, confusion and fiery rage, wondering where on earth all these bloody Tories crawled from. If your extended social circle is anything remotely close to mine, you probably don’t even know where to start; I identified perhaps one solitary happy Tory this morning and promptly deleted him with a particularly aggressive click, boosting my mood for all of 0.25 seconds. The truth is that my entire inbox, newsfeed and twitter timeline is filled with bemused and dismayed people – the overt right-wingers and their sympathisers are hard to find in the cocoon I’ve diligently built myself over the last few years. Easier to identify, though, are the well-meaning liberals; those who know that voting Conservative isn’t the done thing but who … Read More