Feminists have long been critical of the political processes in the UK. Explore the struggle to get women’s opinions and interests represented in political parties, trade unions and other political organisations.
Feminists have long been critical of the political processes in the UK. They have struggled with mainstream political parties (both from without and within). They have discussed whether women fundamentally engage in politics in a different way to men.
Bronagh Hinds discusses the importance of the European Union in the Northern Ireland Peace Process
An unconstructive system?
Feminists have argued that the structure and nature of politics, and political institutions themselves, are combative and have the feeling of an ‘old boys club’. Until recently, sitting hours in the House of Commons were daily from 2.30 pm to 10.30 pm. This caused great problems around childcare for both women and men. In July 2012 changes were made, resulting in sessions now starting and finishing earlier on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Mukami McCrum talks about working collectively
Inside or outside the system?
Feminists have struggled to get women’s opinions and interests represented in political parties, trade unions and other political organisations. Some women have entered into the system in order to try to bring about change from the inside, while at the same time getting involved with grass-roots campaigning around particular issues; others have remained outside existing political institutions and formed new groups, thinking about alternative ways to engage in politics. Whether campaigners choose to work inside or outside existing political structures there are challenges: altering a system from within often involves considerable compromise because existing structures tend to be slow to change; grass-roots campaigning, on the other hand, allows for more radical possibilities, but the capacity to implement changes outside of existing political systems is limited.
Valerie Wise on the positive qualities of women's organisations
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