Following International Women’s Day I put a motion at a full meeting of Suffolk County Council calling for a pdp* to be formed to improve outcomes for girls. The motion also called for more detailed data by gender. Suffolk has an embarrassing gender gap and much useful information is either not stored or not collated by sex.
The motion recognised IWD ‘s #BalanceforBetter campaign
Unfortunately Suffolk’s Tories – while claiming they backed the principal of the motion – voted against it on the specious grounds that “positive discrimination” would not help.
Er? Since when was “establishing facts” confused with “positive discrimination”? Only in the woolly minds of those predetermined to pretend such discrimination exists.
Suffolk County Council currently has 29% women councillors, less than the 33% national average. The percentage of Conservative women councillors – 22% – is smaller than the total average.
This off-beam decisionmaking above demonstrates in all its inglory Suffolk’s Tory party insistance on deciding – and whipping – their vote before listening to the argument. Since when was equality and balance the same as positive discrimination?
Failing to support this motion is a major step backwards for gender equality. During the meeting I said it was “disheartening and shameful” that the motion was voted down, and expressed my disappointment that my Tory colleagues opposite were so reluctant to look reality in the face.
The motion was talking about #BalanceforBetter which is a gender neutral term. Modern Suffolk has a high gender pay gap, high violence against women.
It seems that Suffolk’s Tories are yet to fully engage with women and what they have to offer
*Policy development panels (PDPs) are formed of a crossparty selectionof councillors who meet to examine data, and look at ideas and solutions to tackle a specific problem, and present recommendations to cabinet.