"Of Course Politics Is Sexist": British Lawmaker Keeps It Real

This story is part of Ravishly's "Pantsuit Politics" weekly round-up of female politicians in the news.

Sarah Champion

Living up to her illustrious name, Sarah Champion—the first female member of the parliament (MP) to represent the town of Rotherham—kicked all kinds of ass in an interview with International Business Times this week. Sparing no words and no misogynistic target, she confronted the sexism that permeates politics in no uncertain terms.

And we quote:

"The whole culture of politics has been male-dominated for 700 years."


"The culture that I went into at a local level was very macho and sexist. I think because nobody had ever questioned it before, they wouldn't consider their behavior to be misogynistic or bullying. But that doesn't make it right."


"Women are very disillusioned. I never considered that I would become an MP and the only reason I did was because a female MP I met— Natascha Engel—recommended that I did, and she seemed normal and nice. From what I read and saw on TV, it was all older men. Rich, older men. So why would I consider that to be a career for me?"

"We need more women in here and if there more politicians that people could relate to—men and women of different races, backgrounds, ages, everything—then I think the public would be more engaged. I don't think we can have a good democracy until the chamber is representative."


"Of course politics is sexist. It seems utterly hypocritical that politicians put legislation in place around these discriminatory practices or around employment law—and then we don't follow them ourselves. It's absolutely mad."


"I would absolutely call myself a feminist. Twenty years ago, I would have called myself a post-feminist because I thought we were on track with sorting out issues of equality. But it seems we are going backwards. Until the country has proper representation in terms of sex, gender, race, disability, and age, we have a long way to go."

The Times article gives Champion's pointed words proper context, sharing this gut-punching fact: In the last 15 years, the number of female MPs has increased by just 4.1%. 

Even more soberingly, Champion stepped into her role after Rotherham was accused in a damning report of failing to protect girls from sexual exploitation—in large part because of political malfeasance.

Of course politics is sexist, indeed.

Anastasia Giamali

And the damn straight quotes keep coming!

Giamali, a journalist and regional politician in Greece, also slammed entrenched political sexism this week. After the party she belongs to, Syriza, was criticized for appointing only men to its cabinet, Giamali lashed out:

"It's still a male-dominated society. It's hard for a woman to be involved in high-end politics, because a woman must be a mother, must be working, must take care of the whole family more than a man would in Greece."


"Men are accepted with all of their flaws, but women are not. Women are often categorized as being too shy or too loud or whatever for some big post. It's a problem in Greece, and it's a problem in our party."


"In history books about the Greek revolution, for instance, we're taught that the men with the big mustaches and giant muscles are the ones that saved us. Not the women, who fought too and just as bravely."

Some proper context here, too: Greece ranks near the bottom in the European Union in the number of women participating in politics, and has never had a female prime minister.

To repeat: Of course politics is sexist.

Hillary Clinton

Meanwhile, here in the good ol US of A, Hills tackled sexism not in politics (though she confronts plenty of that too), but in the notoriously bro-tastic tech industry. At a tech conference in Silicon Valley, she had this to say:

“We can literally count on one hand the number of women who have actually been able to come here and turn their dreams into billion-dollar businesses. We’re going backward in a field that is supposed to be all about moving forward.”


"Where women are included, you’re more likely to have democracy; you’re more likely to have stability and prosperity. It’s not just a nice thing to do.”

She also quoted Madeleine Albright with this enduring gem: “There is a special spot in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

Which brings us to the biggest news of the week in Hillary-World, at least as far as media outlets were concerned: Republican Carly Fiorina ripping Hillary a new one at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she sneered, "Mrs. Clinton, please name an accomplishment."

Harsh, yes, But perhaps this nastiness—which male politicians have employed since the dawn of time—represents a strange form of progress? Or is there a special spot in hell for Fiorina?


And in the meantime, don't forget: Of course politics is sexist.

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