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13/09/2015 15:26 BST | Updated 13/09/2016 06:12 BST

Labour's Women Problem Can Be Fixed By Men, Actually

It isn't progressive to elect a woman as leader regardless of what her policies are - it's ridiculous, and patronizing too. We. Are. Different. Some of us like ice cream, some of us don't. Some of us like capitalism, some of us aren't such big fans. Sharing the same genitalia does not mean you will share the same values.

So. THAT happened. Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson were elected to lead the Labour Party, with a massive mandate. And I don't just mean massive mandate in the sense that they were overwhelmingly endorsed by voters, but also that they are two blokes, who are going to be spending a lot of time together. You know, shooting the breeze, chatting about policy, running the party, whilst being men.

And it's fair to say that some people aren't too happy about this. As the announcements were made, lots of people took to Twitter to ask how Labour can claim to fight for progress and equality when they haven't elected any women into leadership positions.

Knowing what a safe space the internet is for nuanced debate, I thought I'd come here and tell you this:

I am a feminist, and I'm not annoyed at the Labour Party.

I know that might come as a shock, because, being a feminist, there's naturally nothing I love more than being annoyed at men for simply existing.

And don't get me wrong, nobody wants to see women in leadership positions more than I do. (Apart from maybe Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall. They wanted that.)

But knocking the Labour Party for having a male leadership is misguided and unhelpful, because as historian Selina Todd said on Twitter, for women's lives really to change, 'we need feminist policies, not identity politics'.

It would of course be a different kettle of fish if Jeremy Corbyn's policies included banning women from leaving the house, forcing a different woman to make his dinner each day, and making it statute law that all women must be referred to as 'oi, wench'.

But he's not doing that, is he? He's committed to a 50:50 shadow cabinet, pledged to improve sex education in schools so that gender discrimination is challenged from an early age, wants companies to publish equal pay audits, and recognizes that austerity hits women the hardest. Amongst other things.

Men who have power can play a huge part in improving women's lives. Let them do it. Let's not get territorial about feminist activism. Let's not cock our legs on sexual harassment on public transport. Let's all wee on it. We're stronger together. If feminists are sending out a message that men have no place in supporting women, it won't make life better for anyone.

And there's another problem with placing identity politics above policies - it homogenises all women. It seems to suggest there is no differentiating between us. It isn't progressive to elect a woman as leader regardless of what her policies are - it's ridiculous, and patronizing too. We. Are. Different. Some of us like ice cream, some of us don't. Some of us like capitalism, some of us aren't such big fans. Sharing the same genitalia does not mean you will share the same values.

Placing a woman's gender above her politics is tokenistic and dangerous, because what we say and what we stand for matters. I understand the argument of 'we need to be the change we want to see,' but having a visible role model needs to be about more than the superficial. It needs to be about providing women with opportunities, encouraging them, and instilling them with the confidence to believe they can do absolutely anything they want to. Not just standing there with your empty political rhetoric and breasts.

This isn't to say that Labour's women problem is a non-issue. No women addressed the room during yesterday's announcements, and that is a problem. Women need to be visible, and they need to be heard.

But the point is, Jeremy Corbyn may be irrefutably an actual man. He's got a beard and his name is Jeremy. But he says he wants to make women's lives better, so for now let's take heart in that. If he starts outsourcing women to G4S, then fair enough, we will start shouting 'boy's club' and set our big angry lady mob on him. Until then, let him take his mandate on a man date, and hopefully soon women will be able to come too.