14/02/2018 Newsnight


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14/02/2018

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis.


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The usual form is that the Northern

Irish parties have the occasional

0:00:060:00:09

lengthy sulk but then make up

and get on with running

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the country again.

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This time it's just the sulk.

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The position of the UK Government

remains the same, devolved

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government is in the best interest

of everyone in Northern Ireland and

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is best for the union.

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is best for the union.

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For the Northern Ireland secretary,

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it's a Valentine's day headache.

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We'll ask the DUP whether

they are embarrassed

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at the inability of their region

to look after itself.

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Oxfam loses another star,

Senegalese musician Baaba Maal told

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us tonight he's withdrawing

as an ambassador for the charity.

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The charity's former Nigeria

country manager tells

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us her own experiences

of working there.

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And I thought that I would be

protected. I thought I would be

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safeguarded from sexual harassment

and from sexual abuse.

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and from sexual abuse.

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And why don't women dominate

in subjects like science and maths?

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Is it because they're

just not interested?

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People have long thought that

the more gender equal a country,

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the more similar men and women

will become in their interests

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and occupational choices.

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We find the opposite.

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We'll hear both sides

of the argument.

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Hello, it's taken 13 months now

for the two main parties

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in Northern Ireland to fail

to form a government.

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At least until today they were

working on trying to create one.

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Remember, the Prime Minister went

to Belfast on Monday

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with the Irish Taiseach,

Leo Varadker, in the hope a deal

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was about to be born.

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But this afternoon,

the talks collapsed.

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Sinn Fein and the DUP

blame each other.

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The sticking point was an argument

over official recognition

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of the Irish language.

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Now, let's be clear,

that part of the UK is ungoverned

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right now and that it happens to be

the same part that is at the most

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fraught border of the whole Brexit

argument, is one massive

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headache for the British government.

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And making it all the more difficult

is the fact that the UK government

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is sustained in parliament

by the DUP.

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Two questions: how did we get here,

and what happens now?

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A year is a long time in politics

and sell them in the 13 months that

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storm has stood empty has the

prospect for devolved government in

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Northern Ireland seem bleaker. Today

the DUP pulled the plug on the

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latest round of talks, but crucially

for the first time they appeared to

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call for the imposition of direct

rule.

As a result of our inability

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at this stage to reform an

executive, it is incumbent upon her

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Majesty's government to step in and

come forward with a budget and start

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taking some key decisions around

health, education and infrastructure

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and taking decisions in those

matters that really mattered to the

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people of Northern Ireland.

Perhaps

unsurprisingly Sinn Fein put the

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blame on the DUP.

The DUP leadership

has failed to come forward and close

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on the issues where we found an

accommodation. These issues will not

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go away. We are engaged with both

governments and over the course of

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tomorrow we will set out more

positive response in relation to

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where we go from here.

The stumbling

block is ever was the thorny issue

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of the Irish language. We have seen

deadlines come and go this year, but

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could this really be the end the

line?

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line? In January 2017, the late

Martin McGuinness stood down as

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Deputy First Minister in protest at

the handling of a controversial

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renewable heating scheme. The

Stormont government collapsed and

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still has not returned. A second

election in two years failed to

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break the deadlock and talks between

Sinn Fein and the DUP failed again

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and again. Fast forward to 2018 and

hopes of a deal looked brighter.

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Theresa May even visited Belfast

this week to push things over the

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line. No such luck. But as civil

servants have warned that pressing

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budget decisions need to be made,

the restoration of democratic

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accountability is becoming critical.

All sides reaffirmed their

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commitment to the principles of

devolution. But direct rule seems

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more likely now than at any stage in

the last decade. A return to direct

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rule presents a number of

challenges. For one thing, there are

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serious concerns about the

constitutional readiness of the

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Northern Ireland Office in the

treasury behind me to handle the

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logistical challenge of running

Northern Ireland from Whitehall. It

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employs around 150 people for

example. Second, in a Parliamentary

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timetable that is full to bursting

with Brexit legislation it is not

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clear how the necessary space will

be made for running Northern Ireland

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from Westminster. Direct rule from

Westminster has happened before, but

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not quite like this.

Never before

have we had a British Government

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that is beholden to the DUP. The

nationalist parties, Sinn Fein and

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the SDLP, will be aware of that and

they were really want to find some

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ways of mitigating that DUP

influence in joint authority or some

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form of joint authority between the

British and Irish governments is

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something they will push forward to

mitigate that DUP influence at

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Westminster.

The institutions of the

Good Friday Agreement provides for

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at least one form of joint

authority, that is clear. The

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prospect of ever getting an

executive up and running again in

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Stormont is much less so.

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Stormont is much less so.

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We'll speak to the DUP in a moment,

but first I'm joined from Belfast

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by Ciaran Mac Gilla Vine -

he's from the campaign group con-roo

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na gaeligah which advocates

for the Irish Language.

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Good evening. Can you explain to us

what the issue is about an Irish

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language at, what would be in it and

what difference it would make?

In

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2006 in the International Saint

Andrews agreement but the British

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and Irish governments committed to

introducing an Irish language act,

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essentially affording Irish speaking

citizens hear the same rights that

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the speakers of Welsh in Wales get

for instance. Since then the DUP use

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their veto and their power to

prevent this and at the same time

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took a number of progressive

measures against the Irish language.

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Most recently they blocked a scheme

which supported disadvantaged young

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people and this brought the issue

and compounded the issue of the

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absence of rights for the Irish

here.

In practical terms what would

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the act have in it that would

legislate or mandate or prohibit?

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What would it actually do that you

cannot do now?

The basic elements of

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the act that we have been calling

for, based on best international

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practice, would be things like

official status for the language,

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currently the language has no

official status. We want an

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independent commissioner to remove

the language from that atmosphere at

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Stormont. We want more visibility

for the language through signage on

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our roads and on public buildings.

Basic measures that are afforded

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across other regions in the UK and

afforded to Irish citizens in the

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south, but which the DUP have

steadfastly refused to allow here.

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Is there anything you could offer in

return? Arlene Foster said respect

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for the union and British identity

has to be in doubt, it cannot be a

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one-way street. Is there any trait

to be done there? Clearly they have

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tried and failed, but is there

anything you could think that you

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could offer that would satisfy her?

I am not offering anything, I am

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just advocating for the Irish

language. But it was made in the

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Saint Andrews agreement, the very

firm commitment around the Irish

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language and that was already made

in 2006. What we need is

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implementation of that deal. We need

citizens here to be afforded rights

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and the DUP about this very strongly

as the UK and how we are in tune

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with the rest of the UK, but when it

comes to different speakers of the

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language, there is a marked

difference on how they are treated

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and that cannot continue and there

will not be another assembly here

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that facilitate the discrimination

against Irish speakers. Largely as a

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society here, they look at the case

of Irish speakers as a litmus test

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to see how serious the DUP are about

our future.

Let's stop to the DUP.

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Let's stop to the DUP.

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Joining me now from Londonderry

is Gregory Campbell,

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DUP MP for East Londonderry

and member of the Northern Ireland

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Affairs Select Committee.

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Good evening.

Good evening. Is he

right when he says it is an agreed

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principle that there will be an

Irish language act. It was in the St

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Andrews agreement in 2006 and it has

not happened?

What happened was the

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UK Government as part of a side deal

with Sinn Fein agreed there should

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be one but it would be a matter for

the devolved institution to

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establish how that might work. What

has happened in the intervening ten

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or 12 years, and this is where the

previous speaker I'm afraid apart

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from outlining a very prejudiced

view was totally inaccurate, not

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only is the Irish language not

disadvantaged, tens of millions of

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resources are lavished on the Irish

language. In fact, if you look at

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the whole series of minority

languages in Northern Ireland, more

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money is put into the promotion of

Irish and all the other language is

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put together. There are Irish

language schools open aplenty.

I am

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sorry, I do not want to get into the

argument about it, was it agreed

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there would be an Irish language

act? It seems the British Government

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did agree to that and the British

Government is now likely to take

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control so you would have no

objection to the British Government

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meeting its obligation to give them

an Irish language act?

What we need

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to do is look at this in terms of an

agreement to get political

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consensus.

I thought it was done in

the St Andrews agreement, a

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provision for an Irish language act?

If you signed it, you have to

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deliver it, right?

We were asked to

give our consent to get, we were not

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asked, that was not great.

But the

British Government has an

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international obligation to deliver

an Irish language act. If the

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British Government takes direct rule

and imposes an Irish language act,

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what will you do?

Will that be a

problem? Of course it would be a

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problem because it would further

advantage the Irish language over

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and above where we stand at the

moment. It is advantageous position

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would be increased even more. The

problem is not the Irish language,

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it is the politicisation of that

language. No one in Wales and

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Scotland who uses Gallic uses it as

a political weapon to attack

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Scotland and Wales from the UK, but

that is what happens here.

Would you

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bring the British Government down if

they said, by the way, we are going

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to give them an Irish language act?

Would you bring Theresa May's

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government down because you are

holding her up at the moment?

It is

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not an issue to bring governments

down, what we want to do is

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re-establish one that we have not

got the moment. We can only do that

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if people move forward on the basis

of some form of consensus, so we win

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and Sinn Fein wins, unionism wins

and nationalism wins.

If the British

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Government says we have taken direct

control and everywhere in the UK has

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same-sex marriage, you would not

mind? You would not bring the

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government down if they said that on

day one they would have same-sex

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marriage in Northern Ireland?

Well,

you see, if we went down that route

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we would put forward a series of

other proposals we would ask from

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the government. It is not

advantageous to talk about if our

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government in London were to say,

you is what we plan to do, A, B, C,

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and offend everybody in the course

of that.

You are not running

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Northern Ireland, you have stepped

away, no one in Northern Ireland is

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running it. You have suggested that

the British Government run Northern

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Ireland, so why shouldn't they run

it like the rest of Britain?

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Same-sex marriage everywhere, why

should they not do that in Northern

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Ireland if you want them to run it?

Do you want them to run it on your

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terms?

What we want to do, all of

these matters, whether it is Irish

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language or same-sex marriage, we

want to work at trying to resolve

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them within the context of the

Stormont institutions, the devolved

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institutions. We are not leaving

those things out and saying they

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will never happen, we are saying we

are not prepared to jeopardise the

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government in Northern Ireland on

the altar of some sort of

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precondition which is we will only

operate the government if we get all

0:14:130:14:16

these things. That is a recipe for a

zero-sum game and we cannot do that.

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We have got to get a government up

and running and we will sort those

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issues out across the divide and

reach some sort of accommodation

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that everyone can live with.

Thank

so much.

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Oxfam has lost another ambassador

tonight amid the scandal which has

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engulfed the charity.

0:14:400:14:42

Last night it was Minnie

Driver who stepped away.

0:14:420:14:43

Now the well-known Senegalese

musician Baaba Maal has told

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Newsnight he's breaking his link

to the organisation.

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Mr Maal had been a global ambassador

for Oxfam since 2012

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but in a statement he told this

programme, "What has

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happened on a human level

is disgusting and heart breaking.

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It is very sad.

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Vulnerable people,

especially children,

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should always be protected.

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As such I am disassociating myself

from Oxfam immediately".

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Meanwhile, more continues to emerge

about Oxfam and other NGOs.

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It's the familiar phenomenon

of the dam bursting -

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one accusation breaks

through at first, leading

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to a flood thereafter.

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Tonight we bring you separate

testimony from two former aid

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workers who together raise

new questions about

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the crisis in the sector.

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We'll start with Lesley Agams,

who worked as Oxfam's country

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director in Nigeria,

and who claims she was sexually

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assaulted by a more senior manager

while on an official gathering

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in Oxford in 2010.

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She informally reported what had

happened and tried to secure

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an apology only to find herself

sacked from the charity

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a few months later.

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I spoke to Lesley Agams from Abuja

earlier this evening,

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starting with what had happened

on that night in Oxford in 2010.

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Myself and other country directors

from West Africa, we have been

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sitting with him, just talking shop.

He kept on referring to a document

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that he wanted me to see. I wasn't

sure what it was and he kept on

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saying he would want me to go pick

it up when we go up stairs. I went.

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At the time I only hesitated for one

reason. I did not want to be seen in

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his room or stay too long in his

room because I did not want any kind

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of, anything which might impinge on

my on my professional capacity. But

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I went anyway to pick up the

document, I thought it would be a

0:16:450:16:49

brief visit. We got to his room and

he showed me what I discovered was a

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concept map. I said OK, let's

discuss it on Monday, the next day.

0:16:540:16:58

As I was leaving the room and about

to go out the door he grabbed me.

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And he assaulted me. I managed to

get out of his grip and rise of the

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hotel room.

I am sorry to make you

recount that. Let's pick up the

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story after, you did tell Oxfam, you

told somebody there, you did not

0:17:170:17:24

make a formal complaint at that

point, you thought you would try to

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deal with it by extracting an

apology and a guarantee it would not

0:17:270:17:30

happen again, did not want to make a

formal complaint did you?

I need to

0:17:300:17:36

give some context, I mean, why did

you not report is the question every

0:17:360:17:40

victim and survivor of violence

against women always asked. I was

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aware I was working in actual

environment. Even at our regional

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headquarters there was a casual sex

going on. At the time this incident

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happened -- a casual sexism going

on. At the time of this incident, I

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felt even if my abuser was punished

I would not be able to work in West

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Africa. As for an apology it was a

suggestion of the human resources

0:18:060:18:13

person I spoke to, that I was

reporting this incident to at Oxfam.

0:18:130:18:22

Her first question was if I had had

an affair with him. It was not until

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later it had occurred to me that for

her to ask that question major did

0:18:260:18:30

not believe what I was saying in the

first place.

Perhaps the most

0:18:300:18:35

extraordinary part of the story is

that you were terminated, sent a

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note of dismissal from Oxfam about

three months later. And of course

0:18:390:18:45

the man who use a assaulted you was

involved in the decision to

0:18:450:18:48

terminate your contract.

He was the

one who delivered the letter to me,

0:18:480:18:53

he was the one who signed the letter

to me. And while I am sure that

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other people might have been

involved in that decision, he was

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the one who carried it out.

You are

in the end did leave Oxfam, you're

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pushed out and you had a terrible

time trying to get them to see it

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from your point of view.

They made

no effort whatsoever to actually

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conduct a proper investigation. I

was not able to go and make this

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report to Thames Valley Police until

12 months later. At the time they

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told me how unfortunate it was

because they could no longer request

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for the CCTV footage from the hotel,

that would have a least shown me

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running out of the hotel room, both

going with him to the hotel room and

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running out of the hotel room.

Because the CCTV footage is only

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kept for six months. That was a time

when I even got even more angry with

0:19:460:19:51

Oxfam.

I think many people will be

surprised that an organisation which

0:19:510:19:57

is so progressive in its political

campaigns and in its general outlook

0:19:570:20:03

would be handling this in a way

which leaves you so dissatisfied,

0:20:030:20:09

what is going on here do you think?

I was extremely surprised myself. I

0:20:090:20:14

started work in the humanitarian

sector five years before that

0:20:140:20:20

because I thought it was an

international organisation, it was a

0:20:200:20:25

humanitarian organisation and I

thought that I would be protected, I

0:20:250:20:31

thought I would be safeguarded from

sexual harassment and sexual abuse.

0:20:310:20:38

I did not in my wildest imagination

think I would receive the sort of

0:20:380:20:41

treatment that I have. I think it is

self evident. I think Oxfam has put

0:20:410:20:46

the reputation before the lives of

both the people who work for them

0:20:460:20:53

and the people who they claim to

work for.

What is your advice to

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people who want to help poor

countries, who maybe have a desire

0:20:570:21:02

to donate money to those in GOP

Australia who are helping other

0:21:020:21:08

countries, what is your advice? Is

your advice to not give money to

0:21:080:21:13

Oxfam? Is Oxfam worse than the

others?

I think it's an issue of

0:21:130:21:17

power. It's an organisation which

has gotten too powerful and as they

0:21:170:21:26

say, power corrupts. They began to

rebel more in their power than the

0:21:260:21:29

good things they give people. But if

people want to help, help is good.

0:21:290:21:36

That is what makes us human. That is

what keeps us human. I think it's

0:21:360:21:40

important we continue to support

each other as human beings. I think

0:21:400:21:47

after my treatment a lot of the

stories I have heard from people,

0:21:470:21:51

from women who have no intention of

coming forward because they still

0:21:510:21:54

have careers and from what we've

heard both from the UK and Chad --

0:21:540:22:02

from Haiti and Chad, the statement

that women are at the centre of our

0:22:020:22:06

work, takes on a very sinister

meaning.

Thank you so much for

0:22:060:22:10

talking to us.

0:22:100:22:13

I should say that although we've not

named the man who Lesley says

0:22:130:22:16

attacked her, his account

of what happened that

0:22:160:22:18

evening is very different.

0:22:180:22:19

He denies assault and on his version

of events, Lesley's contract

0:22:190:22:22

was terminated because the Nigeria

programme was not going well.

0:22:220:22:25

We did ask Oxfam for an interview

today but nobody was available.

0:22:250:22:33

In a statement the charity said the

decision to sack Leslie was taken by

0:22:330:22:39

people more senior than her manager.

It said an investigation by its own

0:22:390:22:45

staff and the police failed to find

sufficient evidence to substantiate

0:22:450:22:48

her claims.

0:22:480:22:51

Well, let's hear about another aid

charity and another case now.

0:22:510:22:56

This NGO was called Merlin,

but this does involve the man

0:22:560:22:59

at the centre of the main Oxfam

scandal, the Belgian

0:22:590:23:01

Roland Van Hauwermeiren.

0:23:010:23:06

He was running Oxfam's programme

in Haiti but was sacked

0:23:060:23:08

for using prostitutes.

0:23:080:23:09

He has been very quiet

since the whole scandal erupted last

0:23:090:23:12

week, no journalist seems

to have found him.

0:23:120:23:14

But it emerged yesterday he had been

implicated in similar misconduct

0:23:140:23:17

in Liberia years before.

0:23:170:23:18

Paul Hardcastle is a veteran aid

worker and was there in Liberia

0:23:180:23:21

with Merlin at the same time

as Van Hauwermeiren

0:23:210:23:23

and he complained at what he saw.

0:23:230:23:26

I asked him what Roland Van

Hauwermeiren was like.

0:23:260:23:30

Well, he was Belgian,

he spoke two or three languages.

0:23:300:23:37

He was an ex-Belgian

army officer and he was

0:23:370:23:41

about 50-52 at the time.

0:23:410:23:47

And he was the country

manager for Merlin in

0:23:470:23:53

Liberia and he had been

there for about 18 months.

0:23:530:23:56

But you were saying that

when you were in Liberia, and

0:23:560:24:00

you were not there as long as he

was, when you were there you were

0:24:000:24:03

seeing things you did not

think we're good at all.

0:24:030:24:06

So what were you seeing that

you thought was really

0:24:060:24:08

bad conduct?

0:24:080:24:09

I was seeing just open corruption.

0:24:090:24:13

I mean, the Merlin office was,

I am sorry to say this,

0:24:130:24:16

it was like the marketplace.

0:24:160:24:18

Our fuel was being

stolen at a huge rate,

0:24:180:24:23

something like 1000 gallons

in

0:24:230:24:24

a month, that type of thing,

a massive amount of fuel loss which

0:24:240:24:31

meant that we couldn't run our field

vehicles, which meant that we

0:24:310:24:36

couldn't implement our programme and

said that was my first head to head

0:24:360:24:41

with Roland.

0:24:410:24:43

Tell us about the sexual stuff.

0:24:430:24:49

Explain what was going

on on a typical night what is

0:24:490:24:52

actually happening.

0:24:520:24:53

What are those staff

at headquarters doing in

0:24:530:24:55

Monrovia?

0:24:550:25:00

Yeah, well, it was much less

restricted than being in the

0:25:000:25:03

field basically.

0:25:030:25:04

There was a UN curfew at 11

o'clock so everybody

0:25:040:25:06

should be in their houses at 11

o'clock for security reasons

0:25:060:25:09

obviously.

0:25:090:25:12

But this was not the case.

0:25:120:25:20

With Merlin they were the exception

so they had their drivers

0:25:210:25:23

on stand-by to ferry them

around to the nightclubs

0:25:230:25:25

and then to bring

the

0:25:250:25:27

girls back to his house,

his own team has as it were.

0:25:270:25:30

And then ferried

the girls back again.

0:25:300:25:32

An interesting question is why these

practices were tolerated.

0:25:320:25:38

I know you didn't want

to tolerate them, so who

0:25:380:25:40

did you take them to?

0:25:400:25:41

Who did you tell?

0:25:410:25:43

OK, well, there was a line

of control in terms of personnel

0:25:430:25:46

management and it was quite clear

we had a code of conduct and so you

0:25:460:25:49

reported, as I was the senior

manager within Merlin, so then you

0:25:490:25:52

have to report to your

country manager.

0:25:520:26:00

The trouble was, that is where

it was coming from, the

0:26:010:26:04

country manager.

0:26:040:26:05

You went back to London

at that point to Merlin

0:26:050:26:07

headquarters in London?

0:26:070:26:08

Yes.

0:26:080:26:16

So he sacked me and I rang up Merlin

0:26:190:26:22

headquarters in London

and I said to them,

0:26:220:26:24

I've been sacked, it is

an

0:26:240:26:25

obvious setup job, I will

write you a situation

0:26:250:26:27

report, an evaluation.

0:26:270:26:29

And I did that and I went back

to London and had several meetings

0:26:290:26:32

with all the main staff in Merlin

and

0:26:320:26:36

they agreed that they would go out

and assess the situation, which they

0:26:360:26:44

did, and then they made

the decisions to fire

0:26:500:26:52

them, or, for them

to resign.

0:26:520:26:54

And I think the only fired one

person and I think two

0:26:540:26:57

people resigned.

0:26:570:26:58

But the important thing

is that they must have known

0:26:580:27:00

that this was going on.

0:27:000:27:02

You would have to be

entirely blind or not to

0:27:020:27:04

listen to any of

the people out there.

0:27:040:27:10

No one dared to blow

the whistle and that is a huge

0:27:100:27:13

problem with aid agencies.

0:27:130:27:21

Do you give money to aid agencies,

to NGOs working out

0:27:220:27:26

in the field now?

0:27:260:27:28

Evan, between you and me,

I would never give a pound and I

0:27:280:27:31

have never given a pound.

0:27:310:27:33

I have worked for many

years, over 45 years

0:27:330:27:35

in the field, a 50 year period,

and I would never give £1 to any aid

0:27:350:27:39

organisation.

0:27:390:27:40

Just to sort of explain

that, there is such a

0:27:400:27:42

disconnect between the head

office and the field.

0:27:420:27:47

And there is a disconnect

which is incredibly

0:27:470:27:49

serious.

0:27:490:27:52

Basically aid workers are not

getting the support that they

0:27:520:27:56

deserve and that they need and that

includes guidance, training, it

0:27:560:28:02

includes back stopping,

these things have to happen in any

0:28:020:28:04

dire situation like that.

0:28:040:28:09

You are talking about human beings.

0:28:090:28:13

By head office you don't mean

London, you mean the

0:28:130:28:15

office in the country?

0:28:150:28:17

You mean London?

0:28:170:28:18

I mean London.

0:28:180:28:26

And that is why I am

talking about it.

0:28:260:28:28

That is why I am passionate

about explaining

0:28:280:28:30

this situation so that aid

organisations can get their house in

0:28:300:28:33

order.

0:28:330:28:34

Paul Hardcastle, thank you very much

indeed for talking to us.

0:28:340:28:40

Now, Merlin that you heard

mentioned there joined

0:28:400:28:44

Save the Children in 2013,

nine years after these events.

0:28:440:28:47

Save the Children has told us that

Roland Van Hauwermeiren was never

0:28:470:28:50

an employee of theirs.

0:28:500:28:51

They said they are unable to assist

any further in this matter.

0:28:510:28:54

Newsnight has been unable

to contact Mr Van Hauwermeiren

0:28:540:28:56

for his own comment.

0:28:560:29:00

Last summer, a Google engineer wrote

a memo suggesting that the company's

0:29:000:29:03

drive to get more women

into its coding jobs

0:29:030:29:05

was potentially not going to work.

0:29:050:29:07

Fewer women may be interested

in those jobs, he said,

0:29:070:29:10

citing biological differences

between men and women.

0:29:100:29:15

The memo turned out to be

very controversial -

0:29:150:29:17

this subject always is -

and the writer, James

0:29:170:29:19

Damore, was sacked.

0:29:190:29:23

He probably hardened opinion

in favour of helping women overcome

0:29:230:29:25

inequalities in the workplace.

0:29:250:29:26

But lurking in the background

are one or two interesting

0:29:260:29:29

observations that even critics

of the Google memo have to concede.

0:29:290:29:32

That women have come to dominate

some previously male

0:29:320:29:35

professions, but not others.

0:29:350:29:37

How come?

0:29:370:29:39

And there is an observed paradox

that more gender equal countries

0:29:390:29:42

seem to have fewer women

in science and engineering.

0:29:420:29:46

Can that be right?

0:29:460:29:47

Our technology editor David Grossman

has been looking at the evidence.

0:29:470:29:49

Many university physical science

labs physically resemble this

0:29:580:30:01

robotics laboratory at Leeds

University.

0:30:010:30:06

Getting more women to study

and pursue careers in stem subjects,

0:30:060:30:10

science, technology engineering

and maths has in recent years crept

0:30:100:30:16

up the political agenda.

0:30:160:30:20

Looking at undergraduate

enrolments in 2016-17,

0:30:200:30:23

of students whose principal subject

was physics, just 22.1% were women.

0:30:230:30:28

In computer science just 17.2%.

0:30:280:30:32

In engineering and

technology, 17.6%.

0:30:320:30:36

And in maths just 37.1%.

0:30:360:30:40

A study published today

by researchers in Leeds and Missouri

0:30:400:30:45

suggests the solutions may

not be straightforward.

0:30:450:30:48

People have long thought

that the more gender equal a country

0:30:480:30:52

is, the more similar boys and girls

and men and women will

0:30:520:30:56

become in their interests

and occupational choices.

0:30:560:30:59

If you ask the average person

in the street do you think

0:30:590:31:03

that there are more women

going into stem in Finland

0:31:030:31:08

and Norway than in Turkey

or Algeria, people will say

0:31:080:31:10

obviously Finland or Norway

because we know those are very

0:31:100:31:14

gender equal countries.

0:31:140:31:16

But we see the opposite,

said that is a very paradoxical

0:31:160:31:21

But we see the opposite,

so that is a very paradoxical

0:31:210:31:24

finding and that is why we called

this study the gender

0:31:240:31:27

equality paradox.

0:31:270:31:28

The researchers took the level

of gender equality as measured

0:31:280:31:30

by the World Economic Forum's global

gender gap index and plotted it

0:31:300:31:33

against the proportion of women

graduates in stem subjects.

0:31:330:31:37

No countries were high

on both measures.

0:31:370:31:41

Countries like Finland,

Norway and Sweden measured high

0:31:410:31:44

for gender equality,

but low for women stem graduates.

0:31:440:31:48

In countries like UAE,

Tunisia, Turkey and Algeria

0:31:480:31:51

it was the other way around.

0:31:510:31:53

This, by the way, is the UK.

0:31:530:31:58

What the study does not do is come

up with any firm answers

0:31:580:32:01

as to why this should be,

although the researchers

0:32:010:32:03

do have a theory.

0:32:030:32:05

Life satisfaction is higher

in gender equal countries

0:32:050:32:08

and we think that when life

satisfaction is higher

0:32:080:32:11

and when people feel more

secure in a society,

0:32:110:32:14

they feel they can do

what they really like.

0:32:140:32:18

They are less driven

by economic interests.

0:32:180:32:25

But there are other explanations

offered, that women in less gender

0:32:250:32:27

equal societies have not been

excluded from science

0:32:270:32:30

in the past like women

in Europe and North America.

0:32:300:32:37

The only female Fields Medal winner

winner, the Fields Medal

0:32:370:32:40

is like the Nobel Prize

for mathematics,

0:32:400:32:42

was Maryam Mirzakhani,

an Iranian-American women,

0:32:420:32:45

and I don't think

that is a coincidence

0:32:450:32:47

that she happened to be Iranian.

0:32:470:32:50

Iran has very good rates

of women in science.

0:32:500:32:53

They don't have the same stereotypes

for some reason as Europe does.

0:32:530:32:57

So I think really this

reflects a historical fact,

0:32:570:33:01

this long legacy of exclusion

is the reason why in Europe we still

0:33:010:33:06

see this lag, women catching up.

0:33:060:33:10

We are still working so hard

to change the culture

0:33:100:33:14

because for so long the culture

was so against women.

0:33:140:33:20

However, the gap in so-called stem

subjects only tells us part

0:33:200:33:26

of the story about women studying

science subjects at university.

0:33:260:33:30

There are plenty of subjects with

big gender gaps that favour women.

0:33:300:33:34

Of undergraduates whose

principal subject is

0:33:340:33:37

medicine, 55.2% are women.

0:33:370:33:41

In dentistry it is 62%.

0:33:410:33:43

In biological sciences it is 63%.

0:33:430:33:47

In veterinary science it is 77.3%.

0:33:470:33:51

And in nursing it is 90.5%.

0:33:510:33:55

Indeed, taken as a whole, women

account for 51.5%, just over half

0:33:550:33:59

of science undergraduate enrolments.

0:33:590:34:03

Most subjects at university

are dominated by women.

0:34:030:34:09

There are very few areas -

we mentioned engineering

0:34:090:34:12

and computer science that

are dominated by men -

0:34:120:34:15

but the gaps there are much smaller

than for things like nursing,

0:34:150:34:19

teaching, social work,

education studies and so on.

0:34:190:34:24

I think it would be much better

if we concentrated in getting gender

0:34:240:34:27

equality across all subject areas,

rather than just focusing

0:34:270:34:31

narrowly on stem.

0:34:310:34:36

So why do men and women often end up

on different career paths?

0:34:360:34:40

Why are some occupations

so dominated by one gender?

0:34:400:34:43

The answers, it appears,

are far from straightforward.

0:34:430:34:51

I am joined now by Jess Wade,

a Physician from Imperial College

0:34:510:34:54

London, and Belinda Brown,

a research associate

0:34:540:34:56

from University College London.

0:34:560:35:00

Good evening. Do you basically think

men and women are the same and you

0:35:000:35:08

would expect them, short of social

pressure, to be more or less the

0:35:080:35:16

same?

I do not think they are the

same, I acknowledge there are

0:35:160:35:21

differences, but I think men and

women can contribute equally to the

0:35:210:35:24

success of science and I think it is

important for physics, engineering,

0:35:240:35:30

biology, computer science, that

everyone is involved in research so

0:35:300:35:34

we get the most interesting outcomes

and the diverse range of

0:35:340:35:37

conversations happening.

Would you

think 50-50 recruitment at

0:35:370:35:43

university at postgrad is about

right?

It is realistic to expect

0:35:430:35:47

that. In all cases, especially cases

I have come across, and I work a lot

0:35:470:35:54

with the Institute of physics who

have done a lot of good work in this

0:35:540:35:59

area, girls enjoy subjects like

physics and if they are encouraged

0:35:590:36:02

to do them and if they have the

confidence to do them and they

0:36:020:36:05

studied them, they can do really

well in them. We need to make sure

0:36:050:36:10

everyone is aware that can study the

subject and they can have an awesome

0:36:100:36:14

time at university and feel like

they can contribute. Science would

0:36:140:36:17

be better if they contributed.

Do

you disagree with anything Jess has

0:36:170:36:23

just said?

I am all for encouraging

everybody to study science as Jess

0:36:230:36:31

says. We have to be a little bit

careful because there has been a

0:36:310:36:37

really big emphasis on

discrimination happening and this

0:36:370:36:41

can actually have the unintended

consequence of getting women into

0:36:410:36:46

science because they think there is

discrimination in there and it puts

0:36:460:36:52

them of doing it. Really we want to

sell science as a great subject to

0:36:520:36:57

boys and girls equally.

Would you

expect if you pushed it equally to

0:36:570:37:04

everybody that the outcome would be

50-50?

No, I would not. You would

0:37:040:37:12

probably end up with fewer girls in

these very select few, say

0:37:120:37:16

computing, engineering and physics.

We probably will end up with

0:37:160:37:20

slightly fewer girls and this does

come back to differences which you

0:37:200:37:25

find universally. Whether you are

looking at gender equal countries or

0:37:250:37:31

gender unequal countries, even in

the countries where there are more

0:37:310:37:34

female scientists, there were still

fewer, I will not say scientists, I

0:37:340:37:42

will say more female programmers,

there will still be fewer female

0:37:420:37:45

programmers. This goes back to

differences at all kinds of levels

0:37:450:37:50

between men and women and some of

these, for example women will turn

0:37:500:37:55

to prioritise. Even when you are

looking at the most mathematically

0:37:550:38:03

precocious women they will

prioritise the work - life buyers.

0:38:030:38:07

Said they select a certain kind of

profession. Jess, how do you explain

0:38:070:38:12

the paradox we saw there that the

gender equal countries, the

0:38:120:38:16

Scandinavian countries, have not got

more female scientists?

We have to

0:38:160:38:23

take culture of society into account

and Scandinavian countries are very

0:38:230:38:27

different to UAE countries and

gender equality is one thing that is

0:38:270:38:32

very different. But we have toys for

children, how we put clothes on

0:38:320:38:38

children, how we navigate children

through the Key stages of their

0:38:380:38:42

decision-making about whether they

will become scientists and

0:38:420:38:45

associated with a scientist and that

is even the same for grown-ups.

Why

0:38:450:38:56

would there be fewer scientists?

You

have something interesting going on,

0:38:560:39:02

especially at the adult career

stage. In countries like the UAE

0:39:020:39:07

they do not value careers in science

and engineering as highly as we do

0:39:070:39:12

in the UK and in Scandinavia. We

have this idea that to succeed in

0:39:120:39:16

science and engineering you have to

be brilliant, a complete genius, you

0:39:160:39:21

have to do all these amazing things

and be an isolated, theoretical

0:39:210:39:25

physicist. What people and parents

and teachers do not realise is there

0:39:250:39:31

a whole bunch of average scientists

and engineers out there having a

0:39:310:39:36

great time and doing what they love

as a job. In countries where they

0:39:360:39:40

recognise that they have more gender

balance within those subjects and

0:39:400:39:45

they pay them less. So we do not

really celebrate doctors here is

0:39:450:39:52

much any more, medical doctors, and

there is a gender imbalance.

Do you

0:39:520:40:00

explain that women choose not to do

coding or do you explain it as women

0:40:000:40:06

have less aptitude?

It is a mixture

of both. Let me say, there will

0:40:060:40:10

always be women who could be

fantastic at coding but I think it

0:40:100:40:15

is partly that they are less likely

to choose coding and maybe because

0:40:150:40:21

they are less likely to have

aptitude. I really do not want to

0:40:210:40:28

cite the statistic that for example

if you look at it, I will do because

0:40:280:40:33

it is relevant, if you look at the

intelligence distribution, men and

0:40:330:40:38

women have equal... Be careful. We

are equally intelligent but if you

0:40:380:40:47

look at the very top 5% of the most

intelligent people they will tend to

0:40:470:40:51

be slightly more males. If you look

at lowest intelligence there were

0:40:510:40:57

also be more males. I think there

are possible differences in aptitude

0:40:570:41:03

but that should not be in the wake

of this. We can always overcome

0:41:030:41:08

them. An interesting thing is if you

acknowledge differences, you can

0:41:080:41:13

start to overcome them if that's

what you think we should be doing.

0:41:130:41:16

That is what I would question.

We

need to leave it there. That is all

0:41:160:41:22

we have time for tonight. It will be

Kirsty tomorrow. From all of us now,

0:41:220:41:26

good night.

0:41:260:41:31