Harriet Harman, shadow secretary of state for international development under U.K. opposition Labour Party, has called on the coalition government to appoint at least one woman as minister within the U.K. Department for International Development.
In a speech at ActionAid headquarters in London on Nov. 25, which is designated as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Harman noted the absence of women in the DfID ministerial team, which she believes will limit the agency’s contribution to women and girls’ empowerment.
“We are challenging them to ensure that they make some changes and ensure that at least one of the DFID ministers is a woman,” Harman said. “It really is not good enough for Britain to be sending a men-only team around the world talking about the empowerment of women and girls in developing countries. The government must walk the talk. Patriarchal politics has no place in 21st century Britain.”
On the same day, the coalition government named Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone as champion of the U.K.’s international work to help end violence against women, which Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell announced in a DfID news release.
“Lynne Featherstone’s appointment helps demonstrate the coalition’s commitment to taking action on violence against women around the world,” Mitchell said. “The coalition are putting women and girls at the heart of all of our work to tackle global poverty and I look forward to working with Lynne on her important new role of International Violence Against Women Champion.”