Slap on the wrist for Slugger

Fionola Meredith has a very good piece in this month’s edition of Village magazine. Her first couple of paragraphs looks at the reaction on Slugger to the appointment of Kelly Andrews to the Parades Commission, replacing Don McKay. She rightly points out that the very first comment here had nothing to do with this woman’s political position, intellectual capacity or experience in conflict management. Yokel described her as ‘a bit of a looker’. She says that ‘Yokel and his ilk make up a significant proportion of the North’s politicos (both wannabe and actual). ‘When they are not sizing up female public figures, politicians and commentators like prize heifers, they treat them with scorn or bored indifference.’The rest of the article goes on to describe Andrews, and her hopes for her role on the Parades Commission. But Meredith is raising the issue once more of the role of woman in public life in Northern Ireland. I was never a fan of the concept of the Woman’s Coalition, but perhaps that was finally the only way to push women into the forefront of public life, not as a aberration or exception, but as a force with something to offer. There are no easy answers to the dearth of capable women in public life, although there is much to be hopeful for among most of the parties. But the true problem lies in the minds of people who can only see the face or figure and not through to the ability or intellect therein. I for one am really glad to see this article, and hope that it is one more step in the process of acceptance of worth.