Dugdale Questions PM May's Feminist Cred

25 September 2016, 07:43 | Updated: 25 September 2016, 07:45

Kezia Dugdale has told the Prime Minister "there is nothing feminist about austerity'' as she delivered a conference speech.

The Scottish Labour leader addressed the Labour Women's Conference on Saturday.

She used the platform to accuse both Theresa May and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of presiding over cuts to the poorest communities in Scotland - cuts she claimed have hit women the hardest.

Ms Dugdale told the audience: "Look at Theresa May - she has the audacity to wear a 'this is what a feminist looks like' T-shirt.

"She could wear it at the despatch box but we'd still know the truth, and the truth is this: There's nothing feminist about austerity.

"We all know the cuts have hit women the hardest. As social security has been crushed by the Tories, 85% of the cuts have been borne by women.''

She went on: "There's nothing feminist about an economy built on low paid low skilled work - a system that keeps women poor. There's nothing feminist about a gender pay gap for the next 50 years.''

Ms Dugdale spoke of her pride in the fact that Scotland has three female party leaders, but said the country was still ``a far cry from a feminist utopia''.

Turning to the work of the Scottish Government, she said: "I applaud the First Minister for legislating for 50/50 public boards and call for her to deliver the same for our parliament. But there's so much more to be done.

"Because there's nothing feminist First Minister about having the power to stop the cuts and refusing to use it.

"There's nothing feminist about cutting part-time college places for women who need a break and a chance to succeed.

"And there's nothing feminist about locking women out of the jobs of the future.

"Just having a female First Minister and two female opposition leaders in the Scottish Parliament is not enough to transform the lives of young women in Scotland.''

Responding to the speech, an SNP spokesman said: "Kezia Dugdale would have more credibility on these issues if her party hadn't this week voted with the Tories against our progressive plans to invest in schools.

"The reality is that Labour wanted to pass the burden of austerity onto working people with an across the board tax rise - which was roundly rejected by the electorate in May.''