Women parachuted into the Cabinet

July 21st, 2014 | Posted by Lynn Strother in Employment | Older People

Well – what do you think of the Cabinet reshuffle? If the women appointed are appropriate for their new roles, why were they not placed in these roles before now? Why bring in all the women in one big lump? Why wait until now?

These women are probably very capable and may be much more capable than the ‘old boy’ network they have replaced, but that is not how they are being perceived. If I was one of those women I would want to be picked because I was the best person for that role regardless of gender; not parachuted in with a lot of other women because I was a woman. In fact, the way this reshuffle has been presented is almost insulting to those who have been appointed – this emphasis on gender rather than qualifications, skills and knowledge.

And what does it say about the policies instigated by the men who have been moved? Were they the right people in the right jobs? Were they the right policies to move this country forward or have people been moved as they were a failure or proved wrong or added little to the improvement in life for British citizens. Does it prove that Michael Gove was wrong in his steamroller reforms in education? Will these women still be in place should the government win?

Nicky Morgan is now Education Secretary – congratulations;  let us hope that she includes older learning in her portfolio – but she is also Minister for Women and Equalities… what is that all about? Why are women and equalities tagged onto education? Does this denote the value and importance of the issues relating to women and equalities? Education is a large and busy department – how much time and resources will be available for women and equalities? Remember that over half the population are women and with such a very diverse population and the lack of ethnic diversity in so many of our public services such as the police, ambulance service and of course the government itself, one would have thought it would justify its own ministry.  And what of the grassroots petition for a Minister for Older People? Does this mean the petition has been ignored or will we be given – without consultation – yet another celebrity who wants greater publicity for themselves?

But there is no need to worry about the men who have graciously stepped aside – they are being given Knighthoods, and being made Knight Commanders and Companion of Honour for services rendered – and of course they will now be able to make treble their salaries on the speaking circuit and, unfortunately, may even write a book.

So what do you make of the reshuffle? Do you think ministers who lose their jobs should be given a Knighthood or some sort of honour? Even if they were a failure? Should we be asking Nicky Morgan for a statement and workplan as to what she is going to do for older people, women and equalities before the election – it will be interesting to see if she is even aware of her extended role!

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