Essex Euro MP provokes storm after saying women who return to work after having baby are less ambitious (From Essex County Standard)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECS to 80360, or email »
Essex Euro MP provokes storm after saying women who return to work after having baby are less ambitious
12:10pm Friday 29th November 2013 in News
ONE of Essex’s Euro-MPs has angered female business leaders in the county – because he accused women returning to work after having a baby of being unambitious.
Ukip’s Stuart Agnew, one of seven MEPs who represent the Eastern Region, including Essex, spoke out in a debate in the European Parliament about the relatively small number of women on the boards of major companies.
He said: “They are getting the jobs in the workplace, but for various reasons theydonot have the ambition to go right to the top because something gets in the way.
“It is called a baby.
“I have never had a baby, but I understand if you do have a baby, it can change your life and it changes your ambitions.
“So the route is there. Those females who really want to get to the top will do so.”
His words have angered Janet Jack, treasurer of the Essex Federation of Small Businesses.
She said women across the county ran their own businesses perfectly well while having a family. She added: “What an absolutely nonsense statement to make.
“I’m not a mother, I have not had that pleasure, but I have a niece who has just had a baby and is already back in work.
“Women do not lack ambition, simply because they have had a child.
“Things get in the way, such as the way it’s expected, if a child is ill, for the mother to be there to look after it. But it’s a changing world and there should be more resources to help women.
“Perhaps Mr Agnew would like to have a chat with me about his views.”
However, Mr Agnew, a onetime soldier in the Rhodesian Army who now has a chicken farm in Norfolk, defended his comments.
He said: “Women who have babies are less selfish and instinctively put their children first, which is quite natural.
“This reduces the number of women available for the top jobs on boards of listed companies.
I was certainly not trying to suggest all women who have babies don’t make it to the top.
“Margaret Thatcher is an example that springs to mind.
“It is a great pity there hasn’t been more focus on the EU’s mandatory gender quota itself.”
Comments are closed on this article.