“[Women] need to be held accountable for their actions, just like any man. “

Let’s just remember we’ve not seen the terms of an inquiry (remember, it’s not a line I’m in favour of) never mind the detail of what Ms Foster may be culpable for, but for now, I’m just putting this here:

…you know what isn’t sexism? Facing valid criticism after overseeing a calamitous failure.

It all reminds me of the Emily Thornberry debacle in September. The shadow foreign secretary was asked a relatively obscure but still relevant question in a Sky News interview. Rather than just admit that she didn’t know the answer and moving on (do you know who the French Foreign Minister is?), Thornberry went into attack mode and accused the interviewer of sexism. Because asking a female shadow minister about the people she might be involved with if her party ever got into government would apparently never happen to a man in her position… Oh wait.

The good news is that nobody fell for Thornberry’s diversion tactic, and in both her case and Foster’s the claims of sexism were so farfetched it’s impossible to take them seriously. God forbid we ever find ourselves a world where we feel we can’t criticise a woman who does a poor job. Hopefully one day women will fill at least half the posts in governments. They need to be held accountable for their actions, just like any man. Otherwise it’s just another double standard.


  • Kevin Breslin

    To be fair this may be a case of being accountable for their inactions.

  • Nevin

    Are some folk losing the run of themselves? Some commentary is coming from those who know little about the loose nature of governance in Northern Ireland. Some local vocal critics apparently haven’t even read any of the Departmental Board minutes; one even asked me for an online link!

    Here are two snippets from Sky News in response to a query about stepping aside:

    Mrs Foster said: “There’s a lot of it personal. There’s a lot of it, sadly, misogynistic as well, because I’m a female, the first female leader of Northern Ireland.

    “I’ve come through a lot worse than venomous attacks from my political opponents and I intend to continue to lead.

    “It’s no secret that during my childhood, the IRA tried to murder my father. It’s no secret that in the past, the IRA put a bomb on my school bus. So do I really think that I’m going to step aside at the behest of Sinn Fein? No I’m not,” she added.


    “Meanwhile, Sinn Fein are on a party political mission to get me to step aside, to weaken Unionism, which I will never allow to happen.

    “Just because I’m a woman, it doesn’t mean I’m going to roll over to Sinn Fein. I’m not going to roll over to Sinn Fein. I’m not going to roll over to my political opponents.

    Women have been portrayed as the weaker sex but Mahatma Gandhi was having none of that. There’s something of the Iron Lady in the Norn Iron Lady – and Margaret Thatcher IIRC was described as the only man in the cabinet.

    The misogynistic comment appears to have been directed at elements of the social media whereas the ‘woman’ comment is clearly mainly directed at Sinn Féin, most likely Gerry and Martin, its elderly male leaders. This duo are the prominent public faces of the Provisional Republican Movement and members of that organisation, of whichever sex, sought not to be treated as other prisoners when found guilty of heinous crimes. This gives a rather different perspective to the thread headline.

    I called Arlene’s bluff when she was a ‘minded’ DoE minister so I might as well call the bluff of some of her opponents!

  • Paul

    The DUP and Arlene are currently out there using every reason in their playbook to justify a minister who oversaw a £400m overspend staying in a job, who has also subsequently been found to have known more than she had admitted to at first about the scheme. They are saying the calls to resign are misogyny from some quarters, while also desperately trying to make it into an orange and green issue, digging up the past to justify her staying in post.
    This is nothing more than arrogance on the part of the DUP and Arlene Foster, she should’ve put her hands up long ago and showed some some of contrition it might have helped her a bit however that ship has now sailed, if it were Westminister they would be well gone.
    I’m hoping if this does go to an election (and it seems it will given Sinn Fein’s document today repeating the call for Arlene to resign) that the DUP will be punished for their actions (probably not but here’s hoping), nationalist anger regarding the DUP has come to a head this is just the issue that broke the camels back, Sinn Fein won’t be able to placate their electorate any further so have to face them down albeit with a watered down inquiry of sorts and if the DUP are having none of it and it goes to an election they can hold their hands up and say “we tried its not our fault”.