The comments made by Tory MP Tim Loughton reported here are symptomatic of the deep seated misogyny that pervades David Cameron’s Government and it is small wonder that women are less likely to vote Conservative at the next election than men (see here and here). Loughton’s suggestion that Sarah Teather was ineffective because she “hadn’t produced one of her own” is not only highly offensive, it takes the Tories assault on women to new levels.
I don’t seek to be an apologist for Sarah Teather but when it comes to Early Childhood education she had a much better understanding of young children and their learning and developmental needs than her replacement Elizabeth Truss. Teather may not have children but she was more in tune with the sector and was more prepared to listen to those who knew more than her about Early Childhood.
Loughton’s comment is not just an insult to Sarah Teather, it is also an insult to the countless men and women who work with young children but don’t yet have a family of their own and to the many parents who have been unable (for various reasons) to have children. Until we have a Government and politicians who don’t just measure women by their ability to bear children, Britain will remain an unequal society where women are still considered to be second class citizens. One of the hallmarks of a high quality education system is equality, in Britain we have a long way to go.