Letter: The right way forward for women

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The Independent Online
Sir: It may seem inequitable that a number of male candidates may have to be sidelined in the Labour Party's determined effort to make the party the first in the world where women are equally represented in Parliament ('Labour parity vow may put men on 'back seat' ',

21 April), but 'positive discrimination' for women is a temporary but necessary procedure to overcome centuries of disadvantage that women have had to bear.

For example, it was not until 1948 that women who studied at Oxbridge could actually receive degrees. Male students got the degree - and used it for preferment for the rest of their lives. Women in the civil service up to about that time were sacked when they got married (men were not). The consequences are still with us.

More recently, what about all this extraordinary concern for the sensitivities of male priests who can't stand the heat in the kitchen over women's ordination? What about the pain, grief, suffering and unfulfilled longing to serve their God of countless women in past centuries?

And hands up those who believe we are being well led by a government (two women out of 20 Cabinet places), an upper house (83 women out of nearly 1,200 peers) or the House of Commons (60 women out of 651 MPs).

Congratulations to Labour, or any other political party, for trying to join the future.

Yours sincerely,




21 April