Since the EU elections the shrill voice of UKIP supporters has been employed to bang on about the 7 female MEPs that UKIP has now got, well done UKIP but I seem to recollect that the population is 51/50 not 31/50. They claim meritocracy, they claim quotas are a form of Communist Marxist Fascism (yes really they find differentiating between political philosophies a tad taxing). They assume that the only thing women want are quotas, and yet a great many feminists do not place them high up on a list of wants.
So just for UKIP men (and it is mostly men) here are a few definitions of what feminism is. The Oxford English Dictionary is pretty clear “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes” or this from Merriam Webster “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”
Feminism, as those on the right would have it, is not the preserve of the metropolitan elite, it has in fact been working class women who have benefited most from equality legislation such as the equal pay act, and it is working class women who have led and are leading the fight for those rights to be met.
Working class women have always worked it was only the adoption of Middle Class values and the concept of the angel in the home that pushed working class women away from the workplace and into the home. The male run unions pressing for men to earn a family wage, implied women had to be kept and for many families that became the norm. For those women working it was an up hill struggle to get their work recognised as being as valuable as a mans work. Many will know of the Ford Sewing Machinists strike of 1968, it was turned into a successful film Made in Dagenham (worth a watch if you have not seen it). But who has heard of the Grunwick Dispute and Jayaben Desai a strike which ended in failure, but ultimately in success for working class female migrant workers.
This is a battle that is still ongoing for working class women. Council workers have taken councils to court and won thousands in back pay for doing “women” work which was considered less skilled than “men” work. The facts are clear women have narrowed the gap but they have not closed it.
As for UKIP men this was the response @womensayno2ukip got today when she asked why they disliked feminism. I would like to apologise to the majority of the male of the species before I post these as I know they do not represent your views. From these, however, it does seem that some of UKIPs male supporters are obsessed with two things tits and quotas
As for the reality regarding women in power it is a depressing picture where improvements have been slow or non existence. The recommendations of the Women on Boards report of 2011 did not favour quotas but they made it clear that companies have a long way to go before appointments to boards are on a merit only basis, that over 90% of appointments are still made without advertising or interview. The report set clear targets for large companies and set out compelling business reasons why boards work better with a more equal representation of women.
The Sex and Power report of 2013 was emphatic in its conclusions that women and underrepresented and that just hoping that women will gain positions of power will not work!
If UKIP want to bang on about merit perhaps do so when all men in in power are there on the basis of merit and not on the basis of a pair of balls!