Reshuffle fever is all about the boys

Given the impact coalition cuts are having on women’s lives, Cameron’s seemingly blasé approach to promoting women into ministerial jobs is surprising.

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The Daily Telegraph reports that David Cameron plans to promote the ‘so-called 2005 intake’ of MPs to the ministerial ranks in his long anticipated reshuffle which is scheduled for next month.

cameron-womenThe paper says the focus of the shake-up ‘is expected to be on the junior ministerial ranks rather than the Cabinet’.

MPs including Stephen Hammond, Keith Simpson, Andrew Murrison, Tobias Ellwood, Mark Lancaster, Ben Wallace, Adam Afriyie and Andrew Selous are set to join the ministerial ranks, the Telegraph suggests.

It quotes ‘a well-placed Downing Street source’ saying:

“The prime minister is very conscious of the work the 2005 intake did during the years in opposition and their loyal service for the government. This group will be well rewarded in the reshuffle.”

Apart from loyalty and the year they were elected, the over-riding characteristic all those named share is their gender. There is a marked lack of women connected with this fairly authoritative-seeming piece of reshuffle speculation.

As it stands, the ministerial ranks are not overburdened with women. There are only two women at minister of state level – the next rung down from the cabinet: Theresa Villiers at transport and the Lib Dem Sarah Teather at education.

Below that, there are only six women at parliamentary under-secretary level: Maria Miller at the DWP, Chloe Smith at the Treasury, Anne Milton at the DoH, Baroness Wilcox at BIS and Baroness Hanham at DCLG. The sixth is the Lib Dem equalities minister, Lynne Featherstone.

And out of 17 government whips in the Commons, only two are women.


See also:

Tories denounce boardroom quotas, as report says male-dominated boards will fall behind 29 May 2012

Women, politics and the crisis: We cannot ignore gender in politics 16 Jan 2012

Boris is turning back the clock for women in London 14 Nov 2011


Given the impact recession and coalition cuts are having on women’s lives, David Cameron’s seemingly blasé approach to promoting women into ministerial jobs is surprising.

What will he say to the many redoubtable Tory women who will criticise his ‘old boy’s club’ approach to governing? “Calm down dear?”


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