A BLOG POST BY REBECCA LURY The Coalition government formed in May 2010 failed to promote significantly more women to Cabinet that previous Governments. A year on, how has the Government fared with the decisions that it made?
The Liberal Democrats have five Cabinet positions, however, not a single one of those was given to a woman. Instead, over the past year, we have seen Vince Cable being stripped of many of his responsibilities after saying he would ‘declare war’ on Rupert Murdoch, Chris Huhne allegedly asking someone else to take his penalty points for a speeding offence and David Laws having to resign from Cabinet over expenses.
Whether the situation would have been different if any of the Liberal Democrat’s female MPs had been in this position is impossible to know, but perhaps it is time to give some of those women a chance to do a better join than those currently in post.
The Conservative Party have not fared much better themselves. Hague’s adviser was forced to resign after rumours about their relationship and Andrew Lansley has brought the NHS to the fore of the political agenda, having to halt the Health Bill’s progression to ‘pause, listen and reflect.’
This was therefore the perfect opportunity for those women who did make it into the cabinet to show that they were a capable pair of hands. This would have helped also to override the continuing supposition that women are only in their jobs ‘because they are women’.
However, Baroness Warsi raised eyebrows, saying that Islamophobia had passed the ‘dinner table test' and Caroline Spelman allowed her department to get caught up in a political nightmare, with the sale of the forests having to be abandoned.
In all of this though Theresa May deserves credit. As the second female home secretary she deserves recognition that she is doing a good job. She has managed to keep her department from getting drawn into political battles thus far.
Whether we will see more women have the opportunity to join Theresa May in the cabinet as great advocates for what women MPs can be, we will have to wait and see. But, at the present time, it appears it might be the time to give women to the chance to show that they are as good as the men.