The Great Debate UK

Girl power? Reality, fantasy or chimera?

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BRITAIN/

Susan Buckingham is a Professor in the Centre for Human Geography and Director of Social Work, at Brunel University in West London. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting a live blog on March 8, 2011, to mark International Women’s Day.

In a recent public lecture on “Changing Britain” at Brunel University, I explored the proposition that society is becoming feminised. I examined current pay and employment data to argue that, while some statistics can be used to argue that some women are becoming more equal with men in some areas, the failure of women to significantly penetrate key decision making bodies, and continuing horizontal job segregation means that “girl power” is more a chimera than reality in the UK today.

Drawing from my own research in the environmental sector, I propose that this is not only problematic for women, as they continue to earn less than their male counterparts and face additional barriers to career progression and being appointed in key decision making roles, but that the failure of the country to capitalise on a significant share of its experience, expertise and intellect limits society as a whole.

A cursory glance at education figures for the UK may suggest that gender equality is being achieved. More women students are entering higher education, and now outnumber men (59 percent of all students in 2008 – 2009). They outperform their male colleagues, with 64 percent of women students achieving 1st and upper second degrees in 2008 – 2009, compared with 59 percent of men.

Coalition government alarms British Muslims

-Javaid Rehman is a professor of law at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own.-

For British Muslims, the new coalition government of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats represents an alliance of strange and awkward bedfellows.

Old traditions die hard in UK election campaigning

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number10A study of constituency-level campaign techniques undertaken by Brunel University ahead of a general election expected in early May shows that direct mail is by far the most common method of contact used by politicians to reach potential voters.

Of the 27 percent of the electorate contacted by one of the three main political parties in February, about 90 percent received some form of communication through the post via direct mail, the study shows. Some 92 percent said they had been reached through mailings from the Liberal Democrats, 89 percent from the Conservative Party and 81 percent from the Labour Party.

Electoral future shrouded in mystery

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justin_fisher-Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Barring a huge surprise, it seems most likely that the general election will be held on 6th May 2010 — the same day as the local elections.

Jack Straw cites trust as top issue for UK democracy

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In a wide-ranging lecture in London on Monday hosted by Brunel University‘s Magna Carta Institute, Justice Secretary Jack Straw outlined his thoughts on the state of democracy in Britain and beyond.

After the talk, Straw told Reuters that the most pressing issue in UK democracy is the need for politicians to restore public trust following an expenses scandal that forced the main political parties to work together to resolve the crisis.

Is the general election all over bar the shouting?

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justin_fisher-Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own.-

With the election now just under seven months away, the starting guns for the campaign were fired at the party conferences. This general election looks like the most eagerly awaited since 1997, and could lead for some significant changes for each of the three largest parties.

Why the results of the European elections matter

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justin_fisher- Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own. -

It’s fair to say that the results of the European elections in Britain were something of a shock. Of course, it was evident that Labour was going to do badly and the BNP’s success in winning its first European seats did not come entirely out of the blue. But the collapse of Labour’s vote exceeded what most had predicted, and the realisation that the BNP now has 2 of the UK’s 72 MEPs is more dramatic than the possibility that it might occur.

Why election results matter to parties’ grassroots

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justin_fisherJustin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The elections this Thursday are widely expected to be bad for Labour. And depending upon which poll you believe, they may not be brilliant for the Conservatives. But a familiar call will emerge nevertheless – that a loss of seats, particularly at local council level, will lead to a further decline in that party’s grassroots. This reality is, however, a bit more complex.

Does the expenses row sound the death knell for New Labour?

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justin_fisher- Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The expenses crisis is well and truly engulfing Westminster, with equal anticipation and dread about future revelations. Labour was quite reasonably aggrieved that the initial stories all seemed to be about their MPs.

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