MoD challenged on women’s representation

// 30 June 2010

Yesterday Baroness Kinnock, who was appointed Minister for International Violence Against Women on International Women’s Day this year after work done by ActionAid, submitted a parliamentary question to the new government which highlights its lack of women ministers (she uses the phrasing ‘female ministers’) in key departments, in this case the Ministry of Defence.

Ministry of Defence: Female Staff

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the Ministry of Defence has experienced any problems relating to policy and action as a result of having no female Ministers.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever):


This follows on from two parliamentary questions tabled by Jo Swinson MP earlier this month asking the new government what plans it has to fill the now vacant Ministerial post.

Crimes of Violence: Females

Jo Swinson:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure the co-ordination of measures by Government departments to tackle violence against women overseas.

Mr Jeremy Browne:

Tackling violence against women overseas is a priority issue for the UK. The Government are committed to developing a coherent and strategic approach to this issue, building on the work we are already doing bilaterally with partner countries, and at the UN, to identify opportunities to increase our impact.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are in discussion with the Department for International Development, Ministry of Defence, Home Office and the Government Equalities Office to take this work forward.

Crimes of Violence: Females

Jo Swinson:

To ask the Prime Minister if he will appoint a Minister with responsibility for co-ordinating the work of the Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence to tackle violence against women overseas.

The Prime Minister:

The Government are committed to tackling violence against women internationally, building on the work we are already doing bilaterally with partner countries, and with the United Nations. The machinery of government is kept under review.

Tearfund has just started a Facebook superbadger campaign to encourage the new government to demonstrate its commitment to women’s rights by a) making violence against women a foreign policy priority b) re-appointing a Minister for International Violence Against Women right away. You can take action via this link.

Comments From You

Ellis // Posted 30 June 2010 at 2:40 pm

Yes, and maybe there could be more female ministers who didn’t get their job because they are the wives/partners/rellies of male ministers.

Jennifer Drew // Posted 1 July 2010 at 2:40 pm

Good to read that Baroness Kinnock has asked the male-dominant coalition what their stance is regarding male violence against women. Also that MP Jo Swinson has tabled two questions in respect of men’s violence against women.

Question is though, will the male-dominant coalition government even perceive this issue as relevant or whether it will be dismissed as not high on the agenda – given the economic situation takes priority.

Not forgetting ‘the economic situation’ continues to be viewed and promoted through a male centric lens with unemployment continuing to be seen as only happening to males and male-headed households (ergo families) never women only households or women (horrors) living in households with no adult male present!

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