Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sometimes it's Hard to be a Woman...

Well, it is in the Labour Party, at any rate.

I warn you not to be vocal

I warn you not to be working class

I warn you not to rock the boat

I'm beginning to think the Labour Party (and wider movement) really isn't a good place for women. For all its window dressing about equality, it's sadly lacking in a lot of respects. From the low-grade stuff (referring to two middle-aged women Vice Chairs of a branch as "the Vice Girls"; the routine lack of eye contact and engagement from some groups) to outright rudeness and intimidation. And then there's the tolerance of sexual impropriety (see previous blog) which, in the light of serious CSE cases, is very worrying indeed. 

From the young turks who think they know it all to the "creepy*" older hands, there's always an opportunity to be looked down on, marginalised and (in extreme cases) smeared. Challenge this, though, and you are labelled a troublemaker.

Of course, there are the proper channels to go through if you are in dispute. You can put in a formal complaint. You can wait a year and have no response. Your enquiries can go unanswered. Democracy in (in)Action.

And then there's the Women's Groups. Eternal forums for discussion but essentially just divisive and separatist.

Loyalty, it seems, is only a one way street, with members (especially women members) expected to shut up and do as they're told. 

It seems to me that "inclusion" in the Labour Party is about as meaningless as it is in education - in reality, it is integration - you do it our way or not at all - rather than true inclusion.

The fact that your least worst option in British politics is this sorry state of affairs is profoundly depressing.

*not my description, but it says a lot about perceptions of new members

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