Gazette Letters - Strangulation of women’s voices

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I am nauseated by the local election of 100% males, and issues arising, such as the safety issues related to single gender monopoly of political office as evidenced by recent council elections.

The Hebrides, pitched as a safe place to bring up children, has shown itself to be a place of strangulation of women’s voices and inclusion, by an unsatisfactory leadership, who, with only 3 women out of 31 Councillors at the last local election, had already been placed on the lowest rung of gender equity in local councils, the worst in Europe.

The lack of change since then, seems self-serving rather than community-service oriented.

A report (dated Sept 2016) by MSP R Cunningham Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, discusses Cohesive Communities and a £20.3 million investment fund, “to support action to advance equality, increase participation and improve the lives of people in Scotland”.

This ‘equality’ is to be funded through, “communities actively engaged in finding solutions … to work together … with equality communities and partners around shared objectives.”

Ms Cunningham has placed additional emphasis on “specific actions … to improve provision on gender recognition, to legislate for gender balance on public boards, to strengthen legislation.”

Where has this money been spent in the Hebrides, does anyone know?

Did anyone apply for money to support getting more women onto the council, so that we can, ‘work together’?

Can we apply for funds now so that we can take ‘specific actions’ to include women and build resilient cohesive communities together, for the next time?

This Scottish Government publication also states an objective to “establish an Advisory Council on Women and Girls to advise on action to tackle workplace and occupational segregation and other issues relating to gender equality, bringing a new strong and challenging voice that will raise awareness of what needs to be done, and advances that have been made, to achieve positive progress on women’s representation in public life. We (says the Scottish Government) will introduce a Gender Balance on Public Boards Bill in the coming year and promote the voluntary ‘5050 by 2020’ partnership in public and private sectors.”

Perhaps our all male council, could provide a Women and Girls Committee to meet obligations stated as ‘Advisory Council on Women and Girls’ and work together to get more women onto the council, and onto public Boards, in line with the 5050 by 2020 partnership.

The appalling lack of progress so far, can be seen where there are now 3 more seats on the council for men.

H Mansfield

Tong