The Death Penalty, Deportation And Cheese. These Are The Cabinet’s Women Ministers

The Cabinet’s got women in it, but how good are they for women?

The Death Penalty, Deportation And Cheese. These Are The Cabinet's Women Ministers

by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

David Cameron has announced his cabinet. And, joy of joys, with 30% of all MPs being women (this is the highest proportion it’s ever been), this has translated into the actual cabinet. Seven out of 21 (this is a third, fact-fans) of the cabinet members are women. And of the other seven people ‘also attending cabinet meetings’, a whopping, um, two of them are women. Overall, this is an improvement on the previous Cabinet.

But gender balance in the cabinet doesn’t necessarily equal gender balance in the real world. So we had a look at each female cabinet minister to find out what they stand for and what their records on women’s rights look like:

**The one who wants to read all your texts


Theresa May – remains as Home Secretary

She kind of disappeared during the election campaign. We wonder why? Is it because she’s the person who presides over asylum cases where, say, a lesbian is to be deported to Nigeria (where it’s illegal to be gay or even affectionate with someone of the same sex) because being a mother means she’s not gay enough to be granted asylum?

Or is it because of alleged abuses at Yarl’s Wood detention centre, where would-be immigrant women are said to have been raped and sexually exploited?

Or is it because of her proposed ‘Snooper’s Charter’ which will make it required for phone companies to records of your browsing activity, social media use, emails, voice calls, online gaming and text messages for a year? We wonder!

**The one who cracked a George Clooney joke to get equal marriage through **

Baroness Tina Stowell of Beeston – she’s the leader of the House of Lords

Overall, she seems to be a goodie – she admits that she’d never previously have voted ‘yes’ for gay marriage, but still drove much of its legislation through the House of Lords, adding in funny little quips like: ‘I am not married, and as long as George Clooney is still available I am prepared to wait’. Not actually coming from a line of Barons, she’s pretty down to earth, saying stuff like: ‘What women generally are looking for is a sign that all of what we do is going to benefit the widest range of people possible, from all backgrounds.’

The one who loves cheese, but not brie or Parmesan or any of those other foreign cheeses

Elizabeth Truss – remains minister for environment, food and rural affairs

The woman loves cheese. British cheese:

What else is there to know? Well, you might not be a fox, but watch out if you are because she’s promised to overturn the hunting ban.

The equalities minister who doesn't want people to be equal

Nicky Morgan – remains as education minister, oh, and minister for women and equalities

Considering that sex education reform (so that it taught about things like consent and how to regard online porn and safe LGBT sex) would definitely be in her remit, and would definitely improve the lives of countless young women, it’s pretty worrying that Nicky voted against equal marriage. Oh, and she has absolutely zero teaching experience.

The accountant flip-flopper

Justine Greening – remains international development secretary

With a background in accounts and finance, it’s unsure how she’ll get to the heart of international development, but while she voted strongly for military intervention overseas, she’s also voted moderately against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws and was very keen on an enquiry into the Iraq war.

The climate change representative who won't make companies cause less of it

Amber Rudd – becomes minister for energy and climate change

The environment really does affect us, which makes us wonder why someone in charge of something called climate change has voted for and against measures to halt climate change.

The woman whose jurisdiction won't let women get abortions

Theresa Villiers – remains minister for Northern Ireland

The relationship between Northern Ireland and Westminster is fractious in so many places but we do wonder if Theresa will have an impact upon the fact that women in Northern Ireland cannot obtain legal abortions? Oh, and that MPs for the Democratic Unionist Party are basically homophobic?

The one who wants the death penalty to come back

Priti Patel – becomes minister of state for employment

Priti has has basically voted for reductions of benefits, is against giving higher benefits to people with disabilities or illnesses, and also strongly against using public money to help young people who’ve been long-term unemployed get back into work. If all of that sounds boring, she also wants to bring back the death penalty ‘as a deterrent’!

The one who wants to heal the world. Sort of.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns remains minister of state at the foreign and commonwealth office

She’s made a lot of promises for women’s rights, e.g. for Afghani women's safety, and actually worked as a teacher for a bit. But her reluctance to sanction Saudi Arabia for their human rights abuses (more beheadings than Isis, seriously) is a bit iffy…

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Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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