Guernsey Press

‘Women have to work twice as hard’

WOMEN in Public Life is an organisation encouraging women to take up public office. On 12 June they are organising an event entitled ‘It doesn’t have to be this way’, which is directed at politicians, encouraging working together in harmony.


As a woman entering the States in October 2020, not in a party, it was pretty daunting, but I had the good fortune to be elected onto committees, with presidents who are two of the most professional, kind, hard-working and diligent deputies in our States, on Education Sport & Culture and Home Affairs, enabling me to grow in confidence as I gained understanding and knowledge of our extensive mandates.

Standing to be a deputy is a big decision for anybody, but probably more so for a woman, as generally a woman has the responsibility of running a home, being a parent and so it can be a huge commitment, as well as probably feeling we have to work twice as hard to prove our worth, in what is still very much a man’s world.

It would be fair to say that all women in our Assembly, without exception, work extremely hard.

The toxicity which is spoken of in the media doesn’t come from within the Assembly, but manifests from outside of the Assembly. It is also stoked by opinion columnists in this newspaper and has been constant over this past term. On Wednesday 3 May we read in Richard Graham’s piece another misogynistic, vitriolic, ungentlemanly attack on Deputy Dudley-Owen, a deputy who works extremely hard on a committee with an extensive remit, while coping with the exhaustion after the treatment of chemotherapy.

Deputy Dudley-Owen has guided a committee with educationalist experts, to present not only the first new Education Law since 1970 which includes governing boards, to lift our education standards by holding our head teachers to account as critical friends, but also a new education model, which includes a post-16 campus, digital connectivity throughout our school estate and three high schools of equal size as was the preferred option of islanders. The sixth form, which makes up only 12% of the cost of the whole education project, enables students to be part of the post-16 campus, building self-esteem and giving opportunities to all students, whatever pathway they follow together, to build our economy.

Which to me is a great achievement.

If we want to encourage more women into the Assembly then we need to see respect in words and deeds.

These types of constant corrosive, undermining misogynistic comments need to end, because at this present time, I would not encourage any woman to enter the States.

It doesn’t have to be this way.


Editor’s footnote:

Richard Graham responds as follows:

I am disappointed to learn that Deputy Aldwell has chosen to interpret what I write in my political sketches as examples of misogyny. I am content to leave it to readers to judge whether she is right to do so.