Leading ladies on the rise but not in Corbyn’s Labour Party

Sandra Chapman
Sandra Chapman

We’re in an era of increasingly powerful women emphasised dramatically this year by the election of Theresa May by the Conservative Party.

Her chances of being our next Prime Minister are good given the mess the Labour party is in.

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn

But can this women power, demonstrated by the likes of Angela Merkel, and nearer home, Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP, Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, our own Arlene Foster who has to share the top job with Sinn Fein and newly elected to the UKIP leadership Diane James, continue?

By contrast, in the UK Labour has some good female MPs but they are rapidly being sidelined in the testosterone driven fight for political supremacy led by Jeremy Corbyn and the big unions.

Their brand of socialism, if it ever gets as far as No. 10, will, I’m certain, relegate women to the back of the queue. There will be no place for them except for tea-making at their party conferences.

Those dewy-eyed, young socialist-minded women traipsing adoringly after Corbyn hoping for a slice of his political cake could be sorely disappointed.

Socialism is male dominated and that’s the way its hierarchy wants to keep it. So far their spokesmen are just that – men. When have the women got a look in?

Beyond the UK and by the New Year we could have a woman as leader of the free world in the form of Hillary Clinton.

America’s first female President could be the catalyst for a movement the first stirrings of which have begun in a country where women have few rights, Saudia Arabia.

There, and in many other middle eastern countries women must have a male guardian – that can be a close relative like a brother – to seek permission to marry, rent a flat, travel or have medical procedures.

Some 14,500 women there have signed a petition calling for the end of male guardianship which will be presented to the Saudi Royal Court. Leading the charge is Aziza Al-Yousef, a leading women’s rights activist who told the BBC of their hope that every woman will be treated as a full citizen.

They have a long fight ahead as Saudi Arabia’s most senior cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh described the calls to repeal the guardianship system ‘a crime against the religion of Islam’.

The issue was first raised five years ago and not much attention has been paid to it by this male-dominated country. But the advantages of the Internet are on the side of these women who have also been the subject of a Human Rights Watch report.

It’s possible social media will eventually shame the male dominated kingdom into giving its womenfolk what they so badly want, the freedom to make their own decisions.

Here, we can’t comprehend not having such freedom.

Yet the shenanigans of the British Labour Party give the impression that power will be retained by a hierarchy of males who want to take us back to the dark days of the sixties and early seventies.

Decent and able politicians such as Yvette Cooper and Harriet Harman will have no place In this cabal of male plotters - the sole interest of so many of them appearing to be the pursuit of personal power.

We still haven’t enough women at Stormont. While Sinn Fein is making a better fist of getting women into prominent posts than say the UUP or SDLP, the real power in SF is in the hands of the men who have to spend too much time defending their past. That needs to change.