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On a Question about whether the Government are working to get more women into executive positions on company boards:

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I ask the noble Baroness the Leader of the House whether she agrees that whatever their merit, both the questions and the answers are very discriminatory?

The Leader of the House (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): My Lords, I do not think that I am being discriminatory in any way.

Lord Acton: My Lords, I ask whether my noble friend has read the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, of December 1957, on the subject of women, and whether she is aware that the question that he has just asked is a model of enlightenment compared to that?

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I have indeed read the speech by the noble Earl. I did not know whether to cry or to laugh. But I know that the noble Earl has made a huge change in his views since then, and I am glad that he is now the enlightened person that he is.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, is the noble Baroness aware that at that time—which was some years ago—I was giving the views of the youth and the young generation, which is what everyone wants to listen to? Of course, as time progresses you change your views, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, but you are still the same person.

A sample of those "views of the young generation":
Earl Ferrers: Frankly, I find women in politics highly distasteful. In general, they are organising, they are pushing and they are commanding. Some of them do not even know where loyalty to their country lies.

I disagree with those who say that women in your Lordships' House would cheer up our Benches. If one looks at a cross-section of women already in Parliament I do not feel that one could say that they are an exciting example of the attractiveness of the opposite sex. I believe that there are certain duties and certain responsibilities which nature and custom have decreed men are more fitted to take on; and some responsibilities which nature and custom have decreed women should take on. It is generally accepted that the man should bear the major responsibility in life. It is generally accepted, for better or worse, that a man's judgment is generally more logical and less tempestuous than that of a woman. Why then should we encourage women to eat their way, like acid into metal, into positions of trust and responsibility which previously men have held? If we allow women in this House, where will this emancipation end?...

I feel sure that nine out of ten noble Lords have in their heart... that we like women; we admire them; sometimes we even grow fond of them; but we do not like them here. [Hansard]

I have reproduced this speech before, but every so often it bears dusting off and incredulously re-examining.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
Mar. 4th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
Hurray. Who needs voting when we can EAT our way into parliament.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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