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Kathy Gyngell: Superwoman is not good enough for the BBC. Let’s hear it for transwoman


The thing is you could make it up and you would be right.  If you were satirising the beyond risible Woman’s Hour Power List (yes – they are at it again – will no one free us of this meddlesome programme?) who would be your spoof front-runner?

Nicola Sturgeon of course!  And yes, of course, she really was the Woman’s Hour Power List judging panel’s first choice. A panel chaired by the omnipresent and eponymous ‘wonder woman’ of The Daily Telegraph, Emma Barnett, ably supported by human rights lawyer Helena Kennedy  (who else?), the Daily Mail’s Sarah Vine and the chief executive of a trendy, upper middle class woman’s clothes shop, Whistles.

They did not disappoint.  The other wondrous females they duly voted in were Angelina Jolie (not of course for her acting), the earnest journalist Camilla Cavendish, newly appointed director of the Downing Street Policy Unit – effectively the Prime Minister according to the eager Ms Vine (aka Mrs Michael Gove), plus a couple of female newspaper editors. All a bit too predictable?

Never fear – the Woman’s Hour panel proved ready to cross the transgender Rubicon and break new ground on behalf of, ur, women or men?

Flying straight onto the list for the first time – although she hasn’t been a woman for long – no more than three months – and wasn’t eligible till very recently – came that fearless former man Caitlyn Jenner described by Woman’s Hour, yes, you have it again, as the high profile transwoman.

I shudder to think what influence Mr/Ms or Miss Jenner is going to have over our lives.

May be Woman’s Hour will rename itself (out of deference and admiration) as Trans Woman’s Hour.

Now, apart from the fact that my licence fee money was wasted on the live broadcast of this ridiculous event in the BBC Radio Theatre on Tuesday, I couldn’t care less about who made it onto their silly, self-congratulatory list.

I did note, however, that none of these power and status crazed females seem at all interested in the one area of discrimination women still suffer – as married, stay at home mothers who want to exercise their choice to put their children first – before their careers.

No mention, let alone fanfare, from Jenni Murray or Jane Garvey – Woman’s Hour’s self-satisfied presenters  – of the damning findings of the social policy charity CARE’s (Christian Action Research and Education) report briefed to the media the day before.

Where were any of these oh so powerful women at the launch of CARE’s Taxation of families– International Comparisons 2013 ? The tax plight of ordinary families (one-earner married couples with two children on a UK `average salary of £35,448 a year, who face a crippling tax burden in the UK in comparison with the OECD average) is apparently of no interest to any of them.

Of course I did not expect Caitlyn Jenner or Angelina Jolie to be there at the briefing. But why not Katharine Viner, the first female editor of The Guardian, or Zanny Minton Beddoes, the first female editor of The Economist – or at least one of their reporters?

It’s ironical that it an was unassuming but forensic male journalist – one Steve Doughty of the Daily Mail who reported on the inequity these families suffer.

Namely, that tax bills on UK homes with full-time mums is the highest in the Western world and that families with one earner pay a third more in tax.

Their situation has deteriorated since David Cameron became PM in 2010. It has not been helped by George Osborne’s quest – backed by childcare tax incentives – to get nearly 500,000 more women into the workplace by the beginning of 2016. Nor, as CARE pointed out, have rises in the personal income tax allowance helped, or the removal of child benefit from one-earner families.

In every case, policies since 2010 have favoured better off two-income families,

According to figures calculated by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the CARE report says an average one-income family lost nearly £2,000 between 2010 and 2015.

Only when Woman’s Hour gives a sympathetic hearing to these women, who feminists have not just abandoned but are happy to see crucified, will I stop giving the ghastly programme a hard time.

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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