So off I trotted to London town for the UK Feminista lobby. A most excellent day from start to finish. The buzz at Church Hall, packed past capacity for the event, the diversity of women ready to march, the commitment, passion, humour and knowledge of attendees. It was great to be a part of it and meet so many interesting, interested women. Feminism appears a relevant and meaningful ideology to use in the push for social justice.
The rally moved to Parliament square where slogans and chants were tunefully carried by the 300 (rough estimate) or so gathered, well except for my bellow. Caroline Lucas and Green feminists were in evidence as were other female MP’s.
Then over the road to queue and be filtered through security into Westminster Palace. Half an hour later I was stood outside Committee Room 11 with my crib card ready to meet Philip Dunne, my MP for south Shropshire.
We shook hands and I told him we had met before, as I had been part of a youth lobby group, Unzipped, in 2009 over the road in Portcullis House. My main points were;
Any failure in the media affects us all. In July 2012 a number of advocacy groups submitted a report to the Leveson inquiry (I took a copy along) that highlighted the extent to which women are routinely trivialised and sexualised in the media but especially in the press. The images are not age restricted and are freely available and on view in society.
Quick aside – For those that persist in saying breasts on display are just a harmless bit of fun please imagine if it was just penises on display. Men argue with me that they are not the same thing, I disagree, both help define gender, are soft squidgy appendages at front of body and both give life.
Anyway back to the lobbying…I think the press needs effective regulation to achieve change, not necessarily state regulation but not the profoundly inadequate self-regulation we have now. Could I count on his support? Yes it seems I can. Mr Dunne clearly does not agree with the objectification of women in the press.
We further discussed the ramifications of the treatment of women in the media on political representation of women in parliament. Cameron was held up as very supportive of female access to government but an Independent article that day showed we are slipping down World Economic Forum rankings, with less than 20% women ministers in government. Exacerbated by the last reshuffle. I pointed out the very poor female presence in police commissioner election too, with 35 out of 192 candidates being women, for the 41 posts available (60-100k salary per year).
All in I felt listened to, understood and supported, although we didn’t agree on everything. He also took my crib card and the report to refer to. Result. I cycled off on one of Boris’s bikes feeling I had achieved my aim. Lets get involved and reclaim politics people!
Later that very same day I attended the ace launch event for the Orwell Prize so more to follow…