Now women are blamed for holding men back in the workplace

3 Apr

I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone blamed women for the UK”s socio-economic problems. I just hadn’t expected a senior Government minister – who, frankly, should know better – to start pointing the finger at educated women.

Universities Minister David Willetts has waded into a storm by saying, in an interview with The Telegraph, that women who would otherwise have been housewives have made progress in higher education and in the workplace – subsequently filling the jobs that working-class men would have taken.

Ahead of the Government’s social mobility strategy being published this week – which will conclude that movement between the classes has ‘stagnated’ over the last 40 years – Mr Willetts said: “The feminist revolution in its first round effects was probably the key factor, Feminism triumphed egalitarianism. It is not that I am against feminism; it’s just that it is probably the single biggest factor.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics shows that there are more working mothers than ever before: in the last quarter of 2010, in the UK, 66.5% of mothers were in work, compared with 67.3% of women without a dependent child. This gap has narrowed from 5.8% in 1996 to 0.8% in 2010. Of those, 29% work full time, and 37.4% work part time. Two-thirds of women are now in employment compared with fewer than three-quarters of men.

Mr Willetts has been criticised for his remarks, with shadow minister for women and equalities, Yvette Cooper, calling for him to withdraw his comments. She said: “Now we see why this Tory-led government is hitting women twice as hard as men. Instead of addressing the problems and disadvantages low-income families face, senior Tory ministers have decided women and feminism are to blame. David Willetts should quickly withdraw this rubbish and face up to the real problems his policies are causing for young people and women who want to get on.”

However, the best reaction to Mr Willetts’ comments, in my opinion, comes from Barbara Ellen in The Observer. She dismisses the remarks as ludicrous, saying that middle-class men “have been taking the lion’s share of everyone’s lion’s chances”.

And, to give her the last word on this matter: “What seems ludicrous is styling middle-class women as the nemeses of working-class men. There is no uppity oestrogen ‘bunging up’ the system, stopping the blue-collar testosterone getting through.”


One Response to “Now women are blamed for holding men back in the workplace”

  1. Lee 04/04/2011 at 11:00 am #

    Feminism must discriminate against some groups of people in order to favour others. All Mr. Willets is saying is that it discriminates against working-class men. I tend to agree with him.

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