Former deputy leader of Harlow Council slams Tories all male white cabinet

General / Sat 22nd May 2021 at 03:30pm

THE FORMER deputy leader of Harlow Council has launched a withering attack on the predominance of white male men in the lead positions at Harlow Council.

Councillor Eugenie Harvey said: “At the meeting of Harlow Council meeting on Thursday, May 20, the new Conservative Leader, Andrew Johnson announced his Cabinet and the Chairs of decision-making Committees.

As a consequence, along with roughly half the population of our town, my interests are now represented at District Council, County Council and at Parliament exclusively by white, Tory men, who of course are led by… a white, Tory man.

Decisions about how our hard-earned taxes are spent are now made exclusively by white, Tory men. 
This selection of portfolio holders and committee chairs is unfathomable.  Is it reasonable to think that these people may not fully understand my life experience or instinctively and continuously consider what matters to me in a way a woman can?

And might it not be unthinkably (if not uncharacteristically) arrogant of them, to presume they do? At the very least, do they not fear that this is an insult to any reasonable woman?

Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the right of every person to take part in the government of his or her country. Equal access of men and women to power, decision-making and leadership at all levels is a necessary precondition for the proper functioning of democracy. Equal participation of men and women in political affairs makes governments more representative of the composition of society; it makes them more accountable and transparent and ensures that the interests of women are taken into account in policymaking. 

If this has been taken into account here, how would the Harlow Conservative Party explain that despite the participation of women in their party, not one has been considered as suitable for a post in Cabinet or Chair of a Committee? 

Being a full-time working mother and a portfolio holder and Deputy Leader of Harlow Council was a huge load, but I gladly took it on for the past three years because I felt it was so important that the interests and views of the women and girls of our town were represented in decisions that would affect them. 

I also wanted my daughter – and every young girl – to grow up seeing women in leadership positions. Anything less would be to disrespect the hard-won victories of the women’s movement to establish our right to vote, to have equal access to education and not to face discrimination in the workplace plus so much more.

It would also be to lead my unwitting son into a world in which his behaviour could cause harm to women. I will not do this to him or any boy.

And I say all this as a white woman! What must the photo above say to women from ethnic minorities?  To women who are single parents? To women who arrived in this country as refugees? To elderly women who are sick and frail and living on meagre incomes?

And before anyone says this is political correctness gone mad or it’s sour grapes because my party lost the election, it isn’t. This is a statement of fact: at the political decision-making table at which there are 15 places (District, County and Parliamentary) that determine our lives in Harlow, there is not one single seat for a woman.

Eugenie (Offred) Harvey

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2 Comments for Former deputy leader of Harlow Council slams Tories all male white cabinet:

Daniel Long
2021-06-10 16:13:06

Who is she or any Labour Councillor to make jaudgement on this when the Labour have never had a female party leader representing the Labour party in the houses of parliament. So give it rest.

Daniel Long
2021-06-10 16:17:59

Who is she or any Labour Councillor to make judgement on this matter when the Labour party have never had a female party leader representing the party in the houses of parliament. She should take a look at her own parties policies and history before making judgement on the Tories or any other party. So give it a rest.

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