Saturday 10 December 2016

Is not having children the price women pay for political success?

Published 19/04/2015 | 02:30

Minster for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald
Minster for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald

There are many advocates for gender quotas to help women advance in politics - including front-bench politicians like Frances Fitzgerald. But sometimes events overtake arguments, and the astonishing rise of Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, may be an example of a woman who has become a game-changer in British politics entirely on her own merit, without any recourse to gender politics.

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And Sturgeon is a game-changer. In her hands, very probably, rests the future of the United Kingdom after May 7. The leader of the Scottish National Party may well have it in her power to make or break Her Majesty's next government. Not that Nicola would call it that: she has on several occasions refused to swear an oath to Elizabeth II, and boycotted the queen's visits to Edinburgh.

She has herself been described as both Queen of Scots, and "the most dangerous woman in the United Kingdom" - since the avowed aim of the ScotNats is to establish an independent Scotland and thus truncate the said UK. But in the media debates leading up to the coming British general election, Sturgeon has dazzled as a top performer, and a brilliant politico who easily outpaces her male competitors. (She's been three times voted Scottish Politician of the Year.)

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