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Don Brash’s sexist attitude unacceptable

Don Brash’s sexist attitude unacceptable

Women tertiary students around New Zealand are shocked and disappointed at National Party Leader Don Brash’s archaic attitude towards women, following comments made as he attempted to excuse his mediocre performance in Monday nights’ Leaders debate against Helen Clark. Brash told a journalist he had “gone easy” on Clark because she was a woman.

“His statement undermines all women, and particularly those in positions of power, as he infers they do not have the right or ability to be treated as equal to a man,” said Karen Price, National Women’s Rights Officer of the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA).

Women students view his comments as a sexist excuse for his own inability to debate effectively.

“His comments are rather ironic considering Helen Clark has been debating effectively with men and women from across the political spectrum for nearly three decades, while Don Brash has attempted, unsuccessfully, to have a presence in the parliamentary debating chamber for under three years,” said Price.

Commentary following Brash’s statement, and his own defence, that suggest he is merely well-mannered have also been disappointing.

“Arguments such as this, that assert that men are merely ‘protecting’ women, have been used to oppress women for decades. Women weren’t allowed to be MP’s because they would find the atmosphere offensive, we weren’t allowed into male only clubs for our own safety, and we couldn’t fully participate in activities and occupations that required physical exertion to protect our own delicate health,” said Price.

“The comments of the National Party leader are patronising and undermining of women everywhere, and are offensive to all people who believe in equality. Respectful, intelligent and informed debate is more relevant than the gender of the opponent,” said Price.

ENDS

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