Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Minister Burton

March 10th, 2011 · 26 Comments · Feminism, Irish Politics

On Tuesday night I wrote a post in preparation for the new Cabinet. Well one member of it.  I had it nearly finished and saved ready to go after the announcement.

After the annoucement of the members of the cabinet today I didn’t publish it and thought about trashing it.

But there it is for some of you to laugh at and maybe some of you to agree with.  I think and hope Joan Burton will make a great Minister for Social Protection.   I don’t know what happened to prevent her being appointed to an economic portfolio.  But I have a few ideas why.   Lots of people despair at the number of women in politics and public life but nobody seems willing to do anything about it.  And the Labour Party, the men in the Labour Party have shown that they are first in the do nothing queue.

Can I just say (yes I went there!)  how pleased I am to see Joan Burton appointed as a senior Minister and one of the Ministers for Finance in the new cabinet.  I have known her for over 20 years and have admired her tenacity and patience and genuine interest in people and ideas and not herself, but for the past two years that admiration has grown.  Her stubborness and dedication to telling it like it is and pointing out the flaws of the policy of the last government was immense.  She sought advice, talked to people at home and abroad, found out information on the bail out, led the opposition to it and tried to explain to everyone what was going on.

The spinning against her in recent months has been very obvious and the muscling in by some men in the Labour Party has also not gone unnoticed by many.  I am sure I will not agree with many of the decisions she or her colleagues will make in the years to come but she is a strong passionate, intelligent woman who as Olivia O’Leary said yesterday sometimes gets it wrong. The difference is that Joan seems to get a lot more stick for doing the wrong thing than many men and has had to face a lot of unnamed sexism in opposition.   There are far too few women in the new Dáil and only three women in Cabinet.

It’s a good day today to see a feminist appointed to the Cabinet.  There will be  horrible days ahead but for today I want to say well done and good luck.

(Link to Olivia O’Leary diary on Drive Time )


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