Tonight’s WDD is a women-in-politics special – featuring sexual harassment statistics, immigration speeches, and playing men at their own game.
MP Jo Swinson confronts John Humphrys for comments on equal pay
During an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning to discuss sexual harassment, Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson confronted presenter John Humphrys over his controversial comments on equal pay.
Humphrys had previously been caught making light of the Carrie Gracie equal pay row in a leaked conversation with BBC North America Jon Sopel. At the end of her interview with Humphrys, Swinson asked him: “While I’ve got you here, John, have you apologised to Carrie Gracie for the remarks that you made about equal pay?”
The MP appeared to have been mimicking Humphrys’ well-known habit of throwing curveball questions in at the end of interviews, designed to catch his interviewees off-guard.
Humphrys responded rather tetchily, saying: “I wrote an email to Carrie Gracie immediately after that exchange… Quite what this has to do with what we’re discussing here I fail to see but there we are.”
On social media, however, Radio 4 listeners seemed delighted to see Humphrys played at his own game.
Read more on this story here.
Politician gives marathon eight-hour speech on behalf of young immigrants
Nancy Pelosi isn’t a household name in the UK, but in the US she is one of the country’s most famous liberal politicians. On Wednesday night, the 77-year-old Democrat delivered an awe-inspiring eight-hour speech, in which she made the moral argument for a compassionate immigration system.
The minority leader in the US House of Representatives spent much of those eight hours reading the personal stories of “Dreamers” (undocumented immigrants brought to the US by their parents as children). The first Dreamers were given legal status in the US in 2001 under the DREAM Act. However, their status as American residents is now under threat from the Trump administration, which has threatened to deport them back to their countries of birth.
Pelosi, who didn’t take a single break during her eight-hour speech, was attempting to convince Republicans to back a vote on immigration legislation that would protect Dreamers from deportation. Concluding her speech, she said: “Our basic request is: honour the House of Representatives. Give us a chance to have a vote on the floor. Let us thank and acknowledge the Dreamers for their courage, their optimism their inspiration to make America more American.”
You can read more on this story at The Guardian.
Politicians call for changes in how sexual harassment is handled in Westminster
A new report has highlighted the scale of the problem of sexual harassment in UK politics, causing a cross-party group of MPs to call for changes to how complaints are handled.
Sexual harassment and other bullying behaviours had been “a feature in the lives” of many people working in parliament, the report said. Almost one in five parliamentary employees said they had experienced sexual harassment in the last year, according to a government survey.
Under the new proposals, a grievance procedure would be introduced to provide “practical and emotional” support to those who complained about harassment. MPs found to have bullied, sexually harassed or abused staff would also face serious sanctions for breaching a proposed new code of conduct, including potentially being sacked.
“Westminster is a very toxic environment; we know that it’s an environment that reeks of privilege. That’s why this report is so important,” said Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas.
“People should be able to have a right to expect a safe and dignified working environment. The fact that we’re having to work so hard just to catch up, I think, is a pretty strong indictment of the processes that we’ve had to date.”
Read more on this story here.
Throughout 2018, Stylist is raising the profiles of brilliant women past and present – and empowering future generations to follow their lead – with our Visible Women campaign. See more from Visible Women here.
Images: Rex Features / Pexels