Commission for Equality and Human Rights

Government 'Equalities' Office

Members of Parliament

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Wednesday, 26 March 2008


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Barry Madison

One of the indisputable facts evidencing how ill-conceived these initiatives are is that they are often a sham -- women-owned businesses are usually dreamed up, bankrolled, and managed by men (usually husbands of the women) because the vast majority of start ups ARE male initiatives. The women are used as a front to obtain tax breaks and other available "minority" funding. And women are not starting more businesses because of this nonsense.

This is but another example of government insisting to people that the sexes are equal in every way when every thinking person knows they are not. Women are simply not as interested in taking risks with new ventures -- men and women are different in this respect because of that terrible thing called testosterone.

I could understand some government initiative if it were proven that start-up female businesses were suffering from widespread discrimination in obtaining loans, etc. That is simply not the case, and this initiative is nothing less than rank legislative pandering to female voters. And it's bad for the economy, encourages fraud, and frankly is of no interest to the vast majority of women who will never take advantage of it.

Louisa Ludhiana

I think British women can be patronising to women from other countries, and I say this as a Muslim woman from Asia. Barbara Stocking, director of the international charity Oxfam had this to write the other day to all Oxfam staff and volunteers, which I thought was so silly: "Sometimes you get the feeling the world is on the move and I think it is on women's issues. You may remember that in November I went to New York to an International Women Leaders Conference on Global Security, led by Mary Robinson. In January at Davos I went to a very high powered women's dinner on maternal mortality. Then last week Annie Lennox, the singer, hosted a women's dinner to start The Circle, which is about women for women. That started off specifically to fundraise for a range of projects for Oxfam and included quite a few women who are ambassadors for Oxfam or who help us in lots of different ways, eg: Jane Shepherdson who is helping to set up ethical fashion boutiques, Zoë Ball, a presenter who has been to Mali and Malawi for us and got us lots of media coverage. It was clear at the dinner that the women just wanted to get to know each other and also to think of ideas about how they could help end poverty as a group. It was very exciting. After International Women's Day in Oxford I then followed this with a lunch for about 35 women with the Prime Minister and his wife, Sarah, in No 10 Downing Street on Saturday. That group was mainly top business women, about 10 of whom were American and had flown in especially for the occasion! We discussed two things: developing women's talent and maternal mortality again (because this is Sarah Brown's key interest). On talent, I was able to ask if business leaders were prepared to mentor women, could they take women from the South. There was lots of willingness and discussion and we need to think how we can help with this from Oxfam."

elizabeth Midford

Barbara Stocking of Oxfam sounds mad in the quote above. What a name dropper! Clearly this woman likes to spend time with world leaders and she loves telling her inferiors in Oxfam about her powerful lunches with powerful leaders. Did Barbara Stocking meet Carla Bruni Sarkozy, I wonder during the French president's state visit to Britain. Now that would have been a coup: a dowdy chief executive of an unwieldy British overseas charity (so twentieth century with a whiff of mothballs!)meeting a sexy former super model married to a world statesman (so 21st century with a whiff of Christian Dior!).

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