Speaking at Unilever's headquarters in Mumbai in response to the question of Britain having anything to teach India about opening up opportunities to women. “If you look at politics in Britain, there aren't nearly enough women around the Cabinet table.” Cameron conjured up the image of he and Sam in the marital bed. Morcambe and Wise style. Sam looking up from her iPad and saying: 'Babe,* I think you need more girlies on the cab' and David nodding in acknowledgement saying: 'Babe, I might tweet that. Night.'
After 2012's reshuffle the cabinet was 2 women down from the previous coalition cabinet. Of a cabinet of 22 members 4 are women. Theresa May, Justine Greening, Theresa Villiers and Maria Miller. Cameron noted that the number of women he has to choose from for his cabinet has grown from 19 to 50, “but it is only 50 out of 300, so it's not nearly enough, so we need to do more.”
With regard to businesses Cameron commented that: “My own view is it isn't enough just to open up and say we will treat everyone equally, when you are starting from such a position of disadvantage...Companies, political parties and other organisations need to actively go out and encourage women to join in, to sign up, to take the course, to become part of the endeavour.”
We don't see women involved in such things so we shy away from them, thinking it is not for us women.
The case of why there is such a shortage of women in boardrooms and politics and so on and so on is complicated. It's a chicken and egg thing perhaps. We don't see women involved in such things so we shy away from them, thinking it is not for us women. The women who do brave it are then so highly visible that any bad decision or criticism is amplified and attributed to all women instead of that woman.
To say the issue could be solved with more visibility seems so wonderfully simple to solve at first. Whilst we are on the subject of visibility it's worth noting that the latest reshuffle left us with a very white, heterosexual, cis and able bodied cabinet. But proposed solutions, positive discrimination, all women short lists breed resentment. One look at some of the blogs and comment on the notion – the very notion – of David Cameron discussing his work with his wife and taking on board what she said has got some people's blood boiling.
So what is the best attitude to take on this issue of visibility and fairness? I am not sure I have happened upon the answers yet. For me I think when in doubt we should refer to Le Tigre's track Viz and when called out on the negatives of positive discrimination perhaps think on these lyrics: They call it climbing, and I call it visibility/They call it coolness, and I call it visibility/They call it way too rowdy, I call it finally free.
*I would put cash money on the fact the Camerons call each other babe
Do the Reshuffle
Cameron wants women to calm down and vote for him
Cameron not off down the boozer