Sunday 30 April 2017

Cressida Dick is the first female Met Police commissioner, but what other top jobs are yet to be held by a woman?

By Prudence Wade

Unfortunately there’s a whole lot of them.

Today is Cressida Dick’s first day as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. She’s also the first female commissioner in the organisation’s 188-year history.

Even though we live in a country led by a woman, there are still so many top jobs in the UK that are yet to recruit a female. Here are just some of the most important positions that are yet to be held by both sexes.

Chancellor of the Exchequer

Holding responsibility for the UK’s economy makes being a chancellor one of the most important jobs in the country.

The role has been around ever since the 1200s and yet still, somehow, no woman has ever been elected to the post.

Secretary of State for Defence

The position of defence secretary is another hugely important role in the Cabinet that is yet to be held by both sexes. Compare this to the secretary of state for education, which has been held by a woman multiple times (currently by Justine Greening).

Is this difference an unconscious enforcement of gender stereotypes – to put things very simply, that women should take care of children while men take care of “manly” things like protecting the realm?

Leader of the Liberal Democrat party

Currently there are a fair few women leading political parties in the UK: Nicola Sturgeon, Theresa May, Caroline Lucas and Leanne Wood all hold the top jobs in their respective parties. However, the Lib Dems have never had a woman at the helm during its whole history.

However, Labour’s record isn’t much better – the only female leaders of the party have been Margaret Beckett and Harriet Harman, both of whom were only acting in the position because of extenuating circumstances, as opposed to officially holding it.

Head of the Civil Service

It’s not just some of the major jobs in politics that are missing female representation – the same is also seen in some top positions in the civil service.

This includes the head of the civil service, as well as the cabinet secretary.

Governor of the Bank of England

The first governor of the Bank of England was Sir John Houblon in 1694.

You would think that has given the Bank more than enough time to get its act into gear and appoint a woman, but ever since only men have held the post. Sigh.

Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)

Interestingly, MI5 has had two female director generals in its history. The MI6 is yet to catch up, and hasn’t had a woman at the helm in its 112-year history.

Mayor of London

Okay, this one isn’t entirely fair, as the official post of mayor was only established in 2000 with the election of Ken Livingstone.

Sadiq Khan made history by being the first Muslim elected to the post, however we’d still love to see a woman in the running next time.

Archbishop of Canterbury

Sure, it’s perhaps not hugely surprising that there has never been a female Archbishop, but how great would it be to see a woman succeed Justin Welby?

The first woman to be ordained as a bishop in the Church of England was Libby Lane in 2015, so baby steps.

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