Recent Articles

‘Benevolent Sexism’ – Sideshow or Battleground?

by Jennifer O'Mahony     June 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Over on Telegraph Blogs today, Jenny McCartney is attacking a report on ‘Benevolent Sexism’, which basically entails very minor acts of goodwill that could still be construed as sexist.

McCartney’s problem is specifically centred around the following examples:

[C]alling women “girls” but not men “boys”; believing that women should be cherished and protected by men; helping a woman choose a laptop computer in the belief that it’s not the sort of task for which her gender is suited; and complimenting a woman on cooking or looking after children well because that is behaviour especially suited to a woman.

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Why does the paid interns debate always have a London bias?

by Jennifer O'Mahony     April 7, 2011 at 9:02 am

Yesterday, in a massively generous concession to the youth workforce currently suffering a 20%+ unemployment rate, the Lib Dems have said they will now pay for lunch and travel expenses for their parliamentary interns.

But a major problem with MPs isn’t just that they are often middle or upper-class millionaires who don’t live with the problems of the struggling majority, but they also seem unable to conceive of the idea that some people don’t actually live in the Greater London area.
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Top official: NHS hospitals “could close” under reforms

by Jennifer O'Mahony     March 17, 2011 at 10:00 am

Sue Slipman, the head of England’s leading hospitals, is warning the public in today’s Guardian that NHS hospitals may be forced to shut under the government’s proposed health reforms.

Other changes might include the following:

[Hospitals] will lose their accident and emergency or maternity units, and some will be downgraded to glorified health centres because of the government’s NHS shakeup.

Slipman is hardheaded about the possibility of a radical alteration in the provision of care in England, and tacitly seems to agree, in principle at least, with the reforms.

The NHS is not sustainable in its current form, including [its] supply of hospitals,” said Slipman. “If you want to retain a service that’s free at the point of delivery, it has to be the most efficient it can be and produce good quality. Whatever you think of these [Lansley’s] reforms, you cannot be against reform if you want a sustainable NHS in the long-term. The reconfiguration of certain services is just the rational outcome of that change.

Although Slipman concedes that “This debate is the most difficult area [in healthcare],” her words will only add to the anxiety on the part of the public, and the growing anger among groups of activists like Keep Our NHS Public and UK Uncut .

A full list of the job losses and downsizing already underway in England’s hospitals can be found over at False Economy.

Notes from a male dominated media industry

by Jennifer O'Mahony     March 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm

In the last two months I’ve been working as a freelance journalist for the first time, and I had an interview at a national newspaper for a job.

Scenario 1: During my group interview for the job, there were around 6 male editors and executives present, and one woman. The people interviewed were evenly divided: 6 men and 6 women.

Scenario 2: Yesterday, I interviewed Ed Balls and John Denham at a video games lab in Liverpool. The Labour representatives organising the event were all male. So was the councillor present. The one woman in the room, Angela Eagle MP, left as I arrived, so there was a local journalist, Ed Balls, John Denham, Liam Byrne, and their special advisers, all male.
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The left’s international way forward

by Jennifer O'Mahony     January 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

I am working my way through Christopher Hitchens’ Hitch-22, which is at turns infuriating and enlightening, and often very funny.

What struck me, however, more than any detail about Hitchens’ personal life, is the international solidarity of the movement of which he was a part in the late sixties and early seventies.

The International Socialists may have possessed this trait to a greater extent than other socialist and social democrat groups of the era, but I know from experience of talking with older leftists that it would not have been uncommon to hold meetings and protest against dictatorships in Greece and Portugal during this time, or to march against the Somoza dynasty in Nicaragua.
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Isn’t it right to prosecute someone for passing on HIV?

by Jennifer O'Mahony     August 21, 2010 at 9:50 am

Zoe Williams wrote this week that not informing your sexual partner you are HIV positive should not be a criminal offence, taking her evidence from the current trial of Nadja Benaissa in Germany.

Her main reasons were that HIV doesn’t kill anyone in Western Europe, and that trials like Benaissa’s risk prosecuting promiscuity rather than crime.

The irresponsibility of this attitude undermines the work in sex education and public health that has taken years for the the general population to absorb, and which remains a major challenge in the fight against what is still a modern epidemic.
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Why are we still supporting the Monarchy?

by Jennifer O'Mahony     June 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Let us consider for a moment the first two lines of Canadian band Of Montreal’s ‘My British Tour Diary’.

On my trip to England I noticed something obscene
People there still actually give a shit about the Queen

This is the reaction of a band whose singles also include ‘Vegan in Furs’, ‘Cato as a Pun’, and ‘Fun Loving Nun’, and whose lead singer has been known to arrive onstage naked astride a white horse.

Basically, outside Europe even very weird people think we’re weird.
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A reply to Kate

by Jennifer O'Mahony     June 20, 2010 at 9:34 pm

This is a classic standoff between feminists. The old guard in your corner, and the new guard in mine.

At the very least, unlike many women of my generation, I call myself a feminist. I know a Labour PPC who told me she “isn’t a feminist, because I believe in equality”.

In my piece, I wrote about what I saw as some personal and generational failings in an otherwise very easy ride in life. This is not to say I haven’t experienced sexism.
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Am I the world’s freest woman?

by Jennifer O'Mahony     June 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I am twenty-one years old. Female. British. Middle class, and agnostic. I attended a good university, and came out with an arts degree. If I want to make money, I can, and if I don’t, I can borrow it without impediment. I don’t feel the need to compulsively buy things. I’m healthy, and I don’t hate myself.

No one will stop me if I want to leave my country, stay in my country, sleep in until midday, go out and not come home, get a boyfriend, get a girlfriend, study, drop out, claim benefits, get married, or do none of the above.

Am I the freest woman in the world?
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Greece bailout shows how subservient we are to financial markets

by Jennifer O'Mahony     May 18, 2010 at 11:39 am

Writing in Le Monde yesterday, the economist Michel Aglietta looked at the long-term implications of the Greek bailout. His assessment was damning:

Lazily imposing a crushing austerity on Greece that it will undertake alone in the context of an internal recession, a possible spiral of deflation, and with European growth which is at best very weak will create a time bomb that could cost all of Europe very dear.

Aglietta’s point was that the Greek bailout is the worst of all possible outcomes.
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