Hypocritical Harman should practice what she preaches about creating a more inclusive politics
Letter of the day: labour party
On December 12, you reported that Labour Party MP Harriet Harman was the keynote speaker at the launch of the annual statement by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, which took place at Stormont the day before.
The theme of Harriet Harman's speech was the relative under-representation of women in political life in Northern Ireland and a declaration that "there's a new dimension to the sense of solidarity between women in Westminster with our sisters in Northern Ireland". She went to cite the engagement of Labour women at Westminster with the abortion issue in Northern Ireland as an example.
Harriet Harman also said that such female parliamentarians were no longer willing to keep out of "male-dominated Northern Irish politics".
We are sure that most of the 800-plus Labour women members in Northern Ireland will welcome Harriet Harman's expression of solidarity and concern.
However, there is a glaring irony in the fact she did not meet with a single female member of her own party while she was here. She is well aware of the activism of Labour women members here, since we have been attending and speaking regularly at annual Labour Women's Conferences and are active in the Labour Women's Network.
In addition, she did not challenge the fact the Labour Party continues to discriminate against women (and men) in Northern Ireland by banning them from standing in elections here with a view to actively challenging regional patriarchal sectarianism.
DR BRIGITTE ANTON, MARIA LOURENCO and MARGA FOLEY
Labour Party in Northern Ireland