Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale gave a keynote speech to the Labour Women’s Conference on Saturday, prior to the start of the UK Labour Party conference today
SCOTTISH LABOUR leader Kezia Dugdale told the Labour Party Women’s conference on Saturday that “there’s nothing feminist about austerity”.
In her speech, Dugdale criticised both the UK prime minster, Theresa May, and Scotland’s first minster, Nicola Sturgeon, for hitting the poorest in society.
Dugdale said that Theresa May “has the audacity to wear a ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirt” and “she would wear it at the dispatch box” in the House of Commons.
“Theresa May has the audacity to wear ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirt.” Kezia Dugdale
Dugdale continued: “We all know the cuts have hit women the hardest. As social security has been crushed by the Tories, 85 per cent of the cuts has been borne by women.
“The Tories’ idea of welfare ‘reforms’ include demanding that a woman proves she’s been raped before receiving benefits for her child.
“There’s nothing feminist about an economy built on low paid low skilled work – a system that keeps women poor.
“There’s nothing feminist about a gender pay gap for the next 50 years.”
“There’s nothing feminist about an economy built on low paid low skilled work – a system that keeps women poor.”
“There’s nothing feminist about an economy built on low paid low skilled work – a system that keeps women poor.” Kezia Dugdale
In a challenge to Sturgeon, Dugdale said that the first minister was either with Labour investing in education, or working with the Tories to carry out the cuts that will hit the poorest in society.
Dugdale told the conference: “Too many young women still face a barrier when they try to succeed, coming up against institutional discrimination. In science and in academia in general, men continue to dominate.
“Just 23 per cent of the professors at our universities are female. Think about that for a moment. Despite making up more than half the population, fewer than one quarter of our university professors are women.
“Years of government failure to redress the gender balance has led us to this point. The institutional road blocks to women taking up these roles must be demolished.
“Just 23 per cent of the professors at our universities are female. Think about that for a moment.” Kezia Dugdale
“Progress has been made, but it isn't enough. And if we look at the students of today we can see the problems continuing.”
Dugdale added: “Earlier this month, official figures revealed there have been falls in the number of pupils taking science, technology and mathematics at Higher, and an alarming lack of progress among girls taking these Stem subjects.
“There were 2,102 fewer Highers sat by girls in these subjects. A fall of seven per cent – and girls are still under-represented in these subjects.
“SNP MSPs have a choice. They can work with the Labour Party to invest in schools and give our young girls a brighter future, or they can work with the Tories to carry on the cuts that are holding back our education system.”
The SNP said that dealing with gender inequality is a priority for the Scottish Government.
“Kezia Dugdale's call to work together on education would have more credibility if her party supported our plans instead of voting with the Tories against our progressive plans to invest in schools.” SNP spokesperson
An SNP spokesperson said: “Since 2007 there have been seven per cent more passes in science, maths and computing Higher qualifications.
“Despite this, we still want to do more. That is why we continue to look for new ways to improve delivery and further promote Stem careers, investing £1.5m and introducing a Stem strategy later this year to help achieve this.
“Since 2007 the pass rate at Higher for all science subjects for girls has increased by three per cent – and although we should always strive for further progress, politicians should not talk down our young people's achievements when progress is being made.
“Kezia Dugdale's call to work together on education would have more credibility if her party supported our plans instead of voting with the Tories against our progressive plans to invest in schools.”
Picture courtesy of Scottish Labour
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