Interns reveal sexist abuse Kent woman MP receives

Interns working for a Kent MP have revealed the sexist abuse she receives daily.

From letters, e-mails to tweets and even on the streets, women MPs face sexism on a weekly basis.

For legal reasons the interns could not disclose the name of the MP.

Sophie Martin, 20, interned at a Kent woman MP’s office over a period of seven months.

She said: “She does face sexism. I remember once there was a tweet about her saying ‘what can we expect from her, she’s a bit dim’ and the thing is, you can’t imagine someone saying a man is a bit dim, can you?

“She’s come from a working-class background to being an MP so people think that she’s incompetent but in reality, they wouldn’t say that about a man.”

Sophie Martin, 20, interned a Kent woman MP’s office and revealed the sexist abuse the MP received.

Sophie said public forums such as local residents’ group on Facebook have become hotspots for people to complain about their MP in an abusive manner.

She added: “It’s even down to her being called a silly woman on Facebook groups – things she wouldn’t necessarily be called if she were a man.

“Obviously there’s sexism in Parliament but there’s also sexism just within the constituency and I do think people assume, ‘oh because she’s a woman she won’t understand this’.  She was a new MP and relatively young compared to the pale and stale so I think she faced more criticism because of that.”

“I didn’t get to see the extent of the abuse she received because I only got to see a certain amount, but I saw enough.”

CCCU Politics student, Archie Ratcliffe, also interned for the same MP and shared a similar experience.

He told Unified: “I was a constituency intern at a female MPs office for about four/five months and what you constantly see is emails or messages in a patronising tone.

“Whether they’ve been intended to be in that way is unclear but there’s rarely a time where an email didn’t have some form of ‘I know better than you, you’re just a silly female who needs to be educated on this so I can then be represented properly’.

“You only need to look at their twitter to see the sorts of things people say to them and people try and patronise them with.  It could be something as simple as what they had for breakfast and someone would always have something to say about that in a negative way.”

Archie Ratcliffe, 20, who interned for the Kent MP says constituency councillors are often the first to belittle women MP’s.

Archie claims it is not just members of the public sending the abuse, but also people in positions of power locally.

He said: “I think what’s worse is that often it’s constituency councillors that would be the first to criticise, make comment, patronise or seek to belittle the minister which I think is probably worse than if it’s just Joe Bloggs because what example does that set for the rest of society when people in some form of authority are acting in ways that seek to demise women?”.

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Rebecca Sheeres

Rebecca is Unified’s Features Editor and a third year Multimedia Journalism student. Her work has been featured on KentLive, Kent Online and Culture Trip. She also co-hosts CSRfm’s Sunday Best show and is an equal rights activist.

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