‘Sir,’ said Samuel Johnson in the middle of the eighteenth century, ‘a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all.’ And that, even in the middle of the twentieth century, is still the view sometimes held about women as politicians. Women don’t make good politicians, it’s said, and even if they did they don’t really belong in politics. Now we’re not going to spend time disputing this view, we‘re simply going to ignore it. It seems to us too obvious to be worth arguing about that women are in politics, to stay, that many of them are very good at it, and that a woman’s place is just as much in politics as in any other occupation requiring qualities, ideally, of intelligence, honesty and courage.
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