Afghan Women in Politics - Response to Kemi

9 October 2005
I very much appreciated your comments about encouraging men to be active as supporters of women's rights. I find it an essential part of gender work... indeed returning us to the true definition of the word! I agree that propaganda can be good, demonstrating that women are out there and politically active and taking control of their lives. Here's my concern: if there is a perception that quotas are externally driven, imported, and imposed, there will be a backlash for women. I'm now an advocate of easing our way in... makes for more sustainable change. And, of course, taking the lead from women here about the pace of change that suits them. We say this... but do we actually do it? Are we able to respect women in Afghanistan (or elsewhere) when they say that we are moving too fast for them? I had an interesting conversation with an Afghan woman yesterday. I asked her how she feels about women in parliament and she said "Parliament is not for women. This is a big chair, they cannot fill it. If they try, somebody might kill them. Men don't want to see women improve their lives. They think it is at their expense. No foreigner can come in and change this. If an organization comes to help men, this is better. First work and training, and then talk about change and women." What do you think?

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

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