Do women do things differently?

M.P. Fiona Mactaggart

Would you consider yourself a feminist,

and what does that mean?

Fiona Mactaggart

I had always been a feminist because of my brother and sister. Being the daughter of a Baronet, I had an older sister, eldest child, but she couldn’t inherit – the Baronetcy goes to the boy.
             Being pro-women doesn’t imply anti-men, women enjoy being with and parenting with men.But when I was first elected, we didn’t name the difference we would make. We didn’t say “we’re going to do…..”101 women Labour candidates! Increase in child benefit, child care, we didn’t name it. So all women, we made ourselves the story, fashion stuff whatever, and the press love that.  They love the big rows, not the minor achievements.
The reason I think, is that men do the big shouty rebellious. Men stand on the doorstep bang, bang and shout at the door, while women sneak around the back and see a way in. So they are not seen to be effective. You could see lots of things women had done.
For example, when we got women on the Defense Select Committee. Of course you’ve had an effect: when it was men only it was all about how big the weapons are, now we talk about women and the families of service personnel. Women by their very presence have an effect.Again, prison leadership treated women prisoners as men without willies. She loses touch with her children. He does too, but he loses his job, after prison getting a job is what keeps him from crime. She needs a home for herself and her children to keep her off drugs and away from crime
How did you begin to think about equality for women?
At University I started reading Shelia Rowbotham. I was a kind of leftie, but I had experienced a privileged life as a child. But it was light bulb moment. “Oh it’s not just me. I’m not the only one to think like this.'”I think I was insulated from a lot of that by being wealthy and at a girls’ school.However, I had always been a feminist because of my brother and sister.   Being the daughter of a Baronet, I had an older sister, eldest child, but she couldn’t inherit – the Baronetcy goes to the boy. So all my life I’d lived with the rage.   In my experience, it is interesting that I am the first woman in my family to complete a university degree.   My mother went to Uni for a year.   My sister went to Uni for a year. At home, my dad, I adore, but he believed that men had an absolute right. Very sexist. But he was gorgeous.It wasn’t until I started reading feminist text which, it gave me a language tool.   I was 21 at that moment flourishing in the ideas of feminism. That was real gear change. We’d had 19 years of Conservatism
So what is really necessary for gender equality?

MP Fiona Mactaggart

MP currently runs the all party committee for women

I think that first a legal framework, unless you have that you cannot get gender equality.The next thing is something about children, and then something about violence. Women are not as strong as men. I think that we have to surface and protect people who are subject to violence.Women are more liable; The hidden violence, rape, domestic violence is largely targetted at women, 94%. I think that we need to protect women so that they feel safe. Older women don’t do things, don’t go out because they don’t feel safe. Feeling safe from harm is at the heart of equality.

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