Is this reshuffle really going to persuade women to vote Tory?

The UK still ranks below Iraq, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan in terms of the number of women in government

Share

Politics might be agog about a particularly sweeping cabinet reshuffle, but I’m afraid I just can’t get excited about the replacement of one Tory for another. Yes, Michael Gove – scourge of schoolteachers – has left, but he’s been replaced by Nicky Morgan, an opponent of equal marriage.A reshuffle of a predominantly Tory cabinet is a bit like watching a posse of line-dancers. Yes, everybody has changed partners, but the routine is still the same.

I must also confess to cynicism regarding the much-vaunted “Rise of the Women.” Austerity is disproportionately affecting women, provisions for women in violent relationships have been removed, childcare costs are spiralling out of control – and that’s before we address the calm-down-dear mentality of the boys’ club in power: does this government really think that women are stupid enough to note a couple of extra female ministers in cabinet and think, “Oh well, I’d better vote Tory now”?

This is what the “Rise of the Women” boils down to: a couple of extra women in cabinet; namely Nicky Morgan and Liz Truss. Esther McVey will be allowed to attend cabinet, like a teenager on work experience, but she hasn’t actually been promoted. I suppose this is what a Rise of the Women looks like to a party of less-than-brilliant privileged men. The fact that that one paper breathlessly describes the reshuffle as a “bloodbath” perhaps gives us an insight into how alarming the replacement of two men by women is to a certain demographic of male set in his ways, but feminist revolution it ain’t.

Of course the newly-appointed women are just as qualified as their predecessors (which is a backhanded compliment if ever I gave one), but to think that their promotion was about competence alone is a little naïve. If it was, these women might have been promoted earlier than the year before an election. The Government wants to be seen to be promoting women, and perhaps that explains why so few ended up getting promoted: women should be seen to be getting promoted, but men should keep the power. The UK still ranks below Iraq, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan in terms of the number of women in government. It will take more than a hasty pre-election reshuffle to fix that. It needs genuine political will, and that’s what’s lacking.

As the lobby gossips about who’s in and who’s out of the cabinet, a Bill is being rushed through parliament which will allow the government to access our emails and texts. But I’m sure the fact that it’s getting passed on the same day is nothing more than a fortuitous coincidence.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ed Miliband and David Cameron  

Cameron and Miliband should have faith in their bolder policies

Ian Birrell
Andreas Lubitz runs the Airport Race half marathon in Hamburg on 13 September 2009  

Being sensitive to mental health need not lead us to downplay the horror of what Lubitz did

Will Gore
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing