Mary Berry says feminism is a 'dirty word'

by Natasha Wynarczyk

Mary-Berry PA

The star of The Great British Bake Off, Mary Berry, has angered some women by referring to feminism as a 'dirty word' and criticising maternity rights.

The 77-year-old dismissed feminism in an interview, saying she 'would always stand up for women but I don’t want women’s rights and all that sort of thing.

'I love to have men around and I suppose if you’re a true feminist you get on and do it yourself, so no.

'I love it when someone says, ‘I’ll get your coat’, or, ‘I’ll look after you’, or offers you a seat on the bus. I’m thrilled to bits.'

She then went on to describe feminism as a 'dirty word', saying 'you have to persuade men to gently do things, and of course, when they come back they say ‘Oh, wasn’t that fun?’'

Berry then began speaking out against maternity rights, saying they made it difficult for small employers to hire younger women.

She said: 'I had about five weeks off [for maternity leave] and now I think, gosh, they haven’t half cottoned on to it. You have a year off, and you don’t have to tell them whether you’re coming back or not.

'It makes it terribly difficult for the small employer to employ young women, young married women or [women] with children.'

However Berry's interview has been criticised by women. Ellie Levenson, author of The Noughtie Girl’s Guide to Feminism, responded by saying: 'Mary Berry’s career, and the fact it’s still going strong, owes a lot to feminism. It would be nice if Mary recognised that.'

Rosalind Bragg, director of the national charity Maternity Action also accused Berry of being 'ill-informed', saying: 'We are very disappointed at the comments. Maternity rights are fundamental to women's ability to maintain employment during their child-bearing years.

'If we backtrack on maternity rights, we will force women out of the workforce, losing valuable skills from the market, and leaving more families in poverty and reliant on benefits.

'We would like to see greater support for women balancing work and caring responsibilities, not ill-informed complaints about women who exercise maternity rights.'

Do you agree with Mary Berry's comments or do you think she is ill-informed? Let us know in the comments below.

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