Statement

 

New Minister for Charities remarks ill-informed with sexist overtones

Brooks Newmark’s remarks about “charities sticking to knitting” were interesting in a stupid sort of way. He clearly denigrates knitting as a marginal, outdated activity, to keep women in their place. By associating charities with knitting he sought to diminish their role.

As a leading ‘knitting’ charity, Knit for Peace, has mobilised over 10,000 knitters to volunteer to help others, through donating warm knitted clothes to those in need.

Our knitters are often elderly and many housebound, and being able to go on helping others is important to them. Knitting has enormous health benefits (I am sure Mr Newmark must have had these in mind when he advocated knitting as a suitable activity).

Knit for Peace has used knitting as a way of bringing together previously hostile communities of Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda (who have now, with our help, established a successful business knitting school cardigans). Knit for Peace brings together Muslims and Hindus in India, and groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh to knit and exchange jumpers and cardigans for each other’s children, showing an enormous goodwill towards peace.

Knit for Peace groups in prisons have a really positive effect on prisoners’ behaviour; Knit for Peace groups promote exactly the values advocated by Mr Cameron in the Big Society (remember that p.r. exercise?).

Knit for Peace achievements have been real and government ministers should perhaps start knitting rather than making stupid statements (with sexist overtones).

We invite Mr Newmark to come and see the benefits of knitting.

Dame Hilary Blume who founded Knit for Peace has strong views on the offensiveness of Mr Newmark’s remarks.” Perhaps we could save his salary and do without a minister for charities if he has so little to contribute. He should also be aware that the knitting yarn industry in the UK is an important employer and export earner. Mocking knitting doesn’t help anyone, and may harm many”.