At HEqual we haven’t published any stories concerning sexism in Scotland, this is somewhat unfortunate becasue things are clearly as bad there as in the rest of the UK if not worse. The latest case of misandry in Scotland comes from the SNP’s Angela Constance, who has been Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning since 2014.
Ms Constance is seeking re-election in the forthcoming Scottish parliamentary Elections, and a Facebook account titled “Re-elect Angela Constance for Almond Valley”. The account posts details various SNP canvassing events, a significant number of which occur outside school gates. Politicising the school environment in this way is somewhat concerning, and its isn’t the first time the SNP has been alleged to be involved in such practices. However an even more pressing issue is the discriminatory nature of the events, with each and every single one advertised with the request “ladies only please” written alongside:
We’ve quite rightly seen criticism of the Labour Party for introducing gender segregation at its events involving the Muslim community, yet here we have not merely gender segregation, but the exclusion of men from the events at schools.
The education system is already notorious hostile to both boys and men:
- Just 23% of teachers in Scotland are male, and in primary schools that figure drops to just 8%. Furthermore, multiple studies show these female teachers award lower marks for boys for producing the same quality of work as girls.
- Only 39.4% of males access higher education in Scotland compared to 48.4% of females.
- 22% of Scottish children live in single parent households, 90% of which are single mothers.
Clearly there’s a crisis in the education of boys, in the recruitment of male teachers and in children maintaining a relationship with their children. Constance herself even claims to care about some such problems, a report in Heard Scotland states:
Ms Constance said she was particularly concerned about the underachievement of boys in basic skills. “The evidence suggests current approaches to teaching children to read, write, listen and talk are less suited to boys than girls. So we must find and embed new ones,” she said.
So on one hand the Scottish Education Secretary is supposedly concerned about the plight of boys yet (it is her job to fix the problem after all). However, her election strategy shows her real attitude to males, which is that they’re such a danger to kids that they shouldn’t even be allowed near the school gates, never mind inside the actual school premises!
We’ve been busying documenting instances of such sexism by Constance and her team and have uncovered the following details:
- At least five of these sexist canvassing events at schools in Constance’s constituency have either than place or are planned in future. The dates of the exclusionary events are/were April 15th, 18th, 19th, 21st, and 22nd.
- Following the revelations about the sexist nature of the events, the team have been keeping the locations of more recent events secret.
- Not only is Constance fully aware of the sexist events, photos show that she was even in attendance at some of them such as at Mid Calder Primary School on April 15th. Text on the promotional image also indicate Constance was leading the event.
A large number of egalitarian minded people have challenged Constance and SNP about Constance’s sexism on Twitter, including ourselves and the likes of Fathers4Justice. She has failed to give a single response. Other challenged Constance directly on Facebook and in response her team removed he posts below which they had commented, thus removing their comments too. Unfortunately for her, we captured a partial archive of the censored material:
Given Constance’s refuse to engage on social media we instead took our concerns directly to the SNP press office on Tuesday morning who promised us a reply. 48 hours later and we’ve still received nothing , we asked the following questions:
- What is the reasoning behind the “ladies only” requirement for canvassers for the events on last Thursday and Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of this week.
- Are they any corresponding SNP “gentleman only” canvassing events in Almond Valley?
- What particular policies has Angela as Education Secretary put in place (or has planned) to tackle the gender education gap in schools and universities and the chronic shortage of male teachers in Scotland?
- What is the SNP position on 50:50 shared parenting following divorce separation?
The only response so far to any of our questions on Twitter came from an SNP member and using the handle @toddy19. He argued:
- It was“Less intimidating for kids to have women rather than big burly hairy-arsed blokes hanging around the gates.”
- It was “better that only women attend”
- Concern about the lack of male teachers was “imagining problems that don’t exist”
- He was “sexist and proud“ .
Toddy19 also repeatedly insinuated that those campaigning for father’s rights were child sex abusers.
It is of note that Angela Constance has a number of links to@toddy19 and has done nothing to distance herself from his views despite been challenged to do so. She posts content that appears to be by @toddy19 on her Facebook page, she retweets him on Twitter and even follows his Twitter account too so could easily have seen all his defamatory and hateful posts. A photography site that appears to be linked to @toddy19 also contains a number of original photos of Constance taken at SNP events.
We’d argue that @toddy19’s Tweets bring the party severely into disrepute and breaches the SNP code of conduct.
In conclusion, if you want a clueless Education Secretary who openly discriminates against men, completely ignore the concerns of voters, fails to recognise the gender education gap and even censors Facebook comments then please re-elect Angela Constance in Almond Valley.
If you’re still not convinced, we’ll leave you with one of her TV highlights showing her absolute genius and professionalism: