Women-only shortlists: good or bad? Jonny Gould and Jenny Chapman MP go head-to-head

Listen in as Labour MP Jenny Chapman and talkRADIO evening show presenter Jonny Gould enjoy a spirited debate about meritocracy and women-only shortlists, with Chapman saying she wished her party had already appointed a female leader

Jenny Chapman: "Meritocracy doesn't mean women shouldn't succeed"

Friday, August 12, 2016

Listen in as Labour MP Jenny Chapman and talkRADIO evening show presenter Jonny Gould enjoy a spirited debate about meritocracy and women-only shortlists, with Chapman saying she wished her party had already appointed a female leader. 

Jonny Gould and Ash get the ball rolling by suggesting that, with the appointment of Theresa May as new Conservative leader and prime minister, meritocracy is "finally winning the day". 

"I think women-only lists are scandalous," he tells listeners. "They would have demeaned Theresa May on the way up as we’d have been suspicious of her abilities if we had removed all the men taking her on."

Jenny Chapman, member for Darlington since 2010 and shadow minister for early years and childcare, disagreed, saying that it is vital to have equality of opportunity. 

"Meritocracy should always win the day," she said. "But that doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t succeed as well.

"There is no evidence that women who get into parliament through women-only shortlists are less able or less successful than their male counterparts.

“I go to work at the House of Commons. I look around and barely a third of my colleagues are women, barely any are black and there’s one or two with disabilities.

"It just doesn’t reflect the wider community." 

Chapman was appointed to the shadow cabinet by Jeremy Corbyn, but is supporting Owen Smith in Labour's upcoming leadership election. She says she is hopeful that the party will soon appoint a female leader. 

“I’d love to see a woman in charge of the Labour Party," she told Jonny Gould and Ash. "I wish it had happened before, but you can’t just wish it to happen. You have to grow women to have the ability, which we’re doing. Labour’s putting in the groundwork. 

“If I were looking at five years time [for a potential female leader], I’d be looking at people like Heidi Alexander, Kate Green, Lisa Nandy, Lucy Powell. There’s a whole load of women who are doing incredibly well and are incredibly impressive."

Are women-only shortlists a good thing? Or should it be a case of 'best man for the job'? Listen to the ful debate, as Jonny Gould and Jenny Chapman trade opinions, and let us know YOUR thoughts.

Comments