David Cameron’s pledge to have women holding one third of government positions by the end of his Prime Ministerial term is looking less likely following his cabinet reshuffle overnight.
Cameron once called the lack of women in government a “scandalous under-representation”. The number of women in the lower house of parliament in the UK still sits at just 22.3 percent
And with the Tory party already facing problems attracting the female vote, Cameron’s party reshuffle looks set to intensify the matter. His Cabinet has dropped from 5 female MP’s to 4, following the departure of party Chairman Baroness Warsi.
The resignation last month of one of the most high profile Tory MP’s, Louise Mensch — because she and her husband were “unable to make the balancing act work for our family” — was a considerable blow for the party’s gender goals, and highlighted what many have claimed is Cameron’s inability to understand issues concerning women.
According to The Shadow Home Secretary and Minister for Women & Equalities Yvette Cooper “time and again, David Cameron has shown he fails to understand the pressures on women and families across the country.”
Cooper also accused Cameron of “having a blind spot when it came to women” and attacked the party reshuffle.
“Women’s voices at the cabinet table have been weakened even further by David Cameron’s reshuffle, and women across the country will lose out as a result” she said.
Last year, Mr Cameron was forced to apologise after telling one female MP he knew she was “extremely frustrated” and told another female MP to “calm down, dear”.
It’s not just the declining number of women in senior positions that has raised the ire in the reshuffle: Jeremy Hunt, the new Health Secretary, has been seen as a controversial appointment given lingering questions over his links to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, and the fact he’s previously publicly criticised the NHS.
Shadow Health Minister Diane Abbott, also expressed concern at Hunt’s stance on abortion. In 2008 he voted for the time limit on abortion to be reduced from 24 to 12 weeks.
Abbott told The Huffington Post UK that Jeremy Hunt’s “record on women’s right to choose is really concerning”.