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Arlene Foster does women ‘great disservice' with claims of misogyny

The Belfast Feminist Network has strongly condemned claims by First Minister Arlene Foster that calls for her to step aside over are partially influenced by misogyny
Gareth McKeown

A BELFAST-based feminist actvist group has said Arlene Foster does the women of Northern Ireland a "great disservice" by claiming calls for her resignation are motivated by misogyny.

The Belfast Feminist Network has strongly condemned the claims by the first minister that the motivation for her to step aside over the botched Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme is partially influenced by misogyny.

"Misogyny is rife in Stormont but, more often than not, it comes from the ranks of Foster’s own party the DUP," Elaine Crory from the group said.

"Misogyny is when, as you assume office as first minister, you are told publically by your own senior party member (Edwin Poots) that your first duty is as a wife and mother. Misogyny is seen in the continued blocking of any reform to the law on abortion, denying women and girls basic healthcare and putting many thousands in desperate situations," she continued.

The feminist group also highlighted comments from DUP MP Sammy Wilson in July last year, where he claimed women who breastfeed in public do so to be exhibitionist and noted a lack of female party representation in the 2015 Westminister elections.

"These calls for Foster’s resignation would be heard even if she was a man, and attempts to claim otherwise are disingenuous at best. The first minister does the women of Northern Ireland a great disservice by cheapening a struggle that so many of us face as we navigate our work and public life," Mrs Crory added.

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