Men to blame for mess the world is in, claims equalities minister

Craig Woodhouse, Political Reporter
19 Sep 2011

Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone sparked fierce controversy today by claiming men make “terrible decisions” when they are in charge.

The Liberal Democrat came under fire after she blamed men for the “mess the world is in”.

Conservative Coalition colleagues branded the comments “ridiculous” and “completely wrong” from a minister in charge of ending sexism.

During a fringe event at her party’s annual conference in Birmingham, Ms Featherstone echoed suggestions from Labour’s former equalities minister Harriet Harman in 2009 that the financial crisis could be blamed on having too many male bankers.

“In terms of decision making I have always gone out and advocated to women you must get your hands on levers, you must get hold of power, you must be where decisions are made,” she said.

“Because otherwise if you leave it to – I’m going to say men in this case because that’s the way the world has worked – you get terrible decisions. Look at the mess the world is in, and look who has been in charge. I leave it there.”

Women on the Conservative back benches were appalled by the comments. Witham MP Priti Patel told the Standard: “These comments are really ill-thought out. As equalities minister she has got to be unbiased about the value that both men and women bring to decision-making.

She works in a department that is trying to address inequalities in society – to then dump the blame for a range of problems on one sex is completely wrong and misguided.”

Mid-Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries joked: “Yes, she’s absolutely right. Churchill was rubbish.”
Peter Bone, Tory MP for Wellingborough, said only the Conservatives had been led by a woman Prime Minister. “The Liberal Party talk a good game but never step up to the plate,” he added.

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