A rumour (which I heard from Zohra of the F-Word blog – thanks – but have not yet found any official confirmation or denial) has been circulating that the previous Mayor’s long-established annual Capital Woman event will face the chop under Mayor Boris.

The web site describes the event thus:

Every year, capitalwoman brings London women of all ages and backgrounds together to discuss the issues affecting them. Open and free to all women, the conference coincides with International Women’s Day and is organised by Mayor Ken Livingstone.

capitalwoman enables women to question the Mayor, policy makers and women’s representatives directly on issues such as childcare, education, workplace issues and travel safety.

capitalwoman has grown rapidly since it started in 2001. Three hundred women attended the first ever conference, whereas over 3,000 people attended in 2008. More London women than ever want to have a say in how their city is run and in developing the policies affecting them.

I believe women make up a slight majority of London’s population, but I’m sure that won’t have stopped those on the right protesting that this event represented another of Ken Livingstone’s minority appeasement programmes that they hated so much.

So will Boris axe this event? His record on women’s issues isn’t exactly a great one. He’s already abolished the post of Women’s Advisor to the Mayor since taking office. After all, why should he need any advice about how to deal with the ladies? He knows how to treat the “chicks”. Let’s dig out some of the writing he’s done in the past which best illustrates his, er, respect for the opposite sex.

[When driving a Ferrari] the M3 opened up before me, a long quiet Bonneville flat stretch, and I am afraid it was as though the whole county of Hampshire was lying back and opening her well-bred legs to be ravished by the Italian stallion.
(Life in the Fast Lane, p261)

The chicks in the GQ expenses department – and if you can’t call them chicks, then what the hell, I ask you, is the point of writing for GQ?
(Life in the Fast Lane, p57)

She was blonde. She was beautiful. She was driving some poxy little Citroen or Peugeot thing… And she had just overtaken me… And let me tell you, I wasn’t having it.

Because if there is one thing calculated to make the testosterone slosh in your ears like the echoing sea and the red mist of war descend over your eyes, it’s being treated as though you were an old woman by a young woman… the whole endocrine orchestra said: “Go. Take.” You can’t be dissed by some blonde in a 305.
(Life in the Fast Lane, p26)

Like much of western Europe, Britain faces a demographic quandary. In the words of a recent UN interview the populations of EU countries are “melting like snow in the sun”… No one knows whether this is caused by the fecklessness of the modern British male, or by women’s liberation; or whether it is because divorce has become too easy.
(Lend Me Your Ears, p395)

Something tells me this Mayor’s feminist credentials might not perhaps be quite as respectable as his predecessor’s.

Don’t hold your breath for Capital Woman happening in 2009. I very much hope to stand corrected.

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