'Ugly backlash' when women speak out, says First Minister

Credit: PA

First Minister Carwyn Jones has accepted the challenge set by the Welsh Government's advisor for violence against women and domestic abuse, to make Wales the safest place to be a woman in the whole of Europe. And in comments bound to be seen in the context of events since the death of Carl Sargeant, he's described an ugly backlash against women who speak out against sexual harassment.

In Wales and Westminster I have seen what the backlash looks like. It is ugly. I have witnessed campaigns and conspiracy theories, victim blaming and vile treatment towards women who choose to speak out.

First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

In his speech at Oxford University, Carwyn Jones said such misogyny had made him "incredibly angry" but he had resisted the "typically male" temptation to fight fire with fire and "get into a scrap". He said it was better to do something positive and he was committing the Welsh Government to showing the way, with a review of its gender and equality policies.

It would build on existing good work but highlight the need to do more and it would look at best practice around the world. Other key points would include:

  • Considering how to move gender to the fore in all decision-making

  • Making public appointments gender balanced by 2021

  • Working with local councils on tackling period poverty

  • Making sure the economic planning matched the rhetoric on gender

  • Making Wales, through new legislation, the safest place to be a woman in the whole of Europe.