How many women are there in Gordon Browns Cabinet?
That’s what we were asking each other in our team meeting this morning as we discussed the news which seems to centre rather a lot around women today. Most of us struggled to get past two.
(If you can reach the right answer within 10 seconds of thinking about it and without going to Wiki, drop us a line).
Spain’s new Socialist Prime Minister – Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero – was proud to announce that for the first time more women than men will hold Cabinet positions in Spain under his leadership. Meanwhile not too far from Spain, Italy’s revived Berlusconi has announced that he will fulfil his promise to include at least four women in his cabinet, one of them a former model and Miss Italy contestant.
Some would argue that it’s only by addressing the gender gap in politics that the issues affecting women can be properly addressed. Around the world the level of discrimination and violence against women is still too high, and at times it’s horrifying.
For example, a report out by the Pakistan Human Rights Commission claimed that the number of violent attacks against women has more than doubled over the past year to more than 4,000.
And closer to home – here in the UK, 2,300 campaigners sent an open letter to the Home Secretary (the only woman I counted in the British Cabinet within the first five seconds of thinking about it) criticising the legal system and lack of care to rape victims here in the UK.
The report reminds us that only one out of every 20 rapes reported to the police result in conviction, with fewer than one in five even leading to a prosecution. This is quite simply unacceptable. This stat compounded with the ‘blame culture’ attitude that Amnesty discovered in its rape poll three years ago is staggering.
So much more needs to be done to address the level of discrimination and adequate access to care and services for women within the UK as well as in other parts of the world.
Well – as I said – if you know the number of women in the current UK Cabinet, let us know!
Til the next time
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.