I read a list today of all the candidates so far declared for the Liverpool Mayoral elections.
Ten names, all male. All white as far as I know too, although I may be mistaken. Not absolutely all middle-aged, thankfully, but pretty nearly so.
And not a woman's name amongst them.
This disturbs me greatly.
I guess I need to stave off the critics and the finger-waggers right from the off by saying I firmly believe that Joe Anderson is the right candidate for Labour and the best person for the job, even if he does happen to be a bloke. I am behind him 100%. Okay? Hey, you at the back, did you make a note of that?
But I cannot help be utterly miserable about the fact that no women have put their names forward.
There are good women in this city, good political women, I know there are. Three of our five MPs are women, very nearly half of the Labour councillors are women, the leader of the Green Party and the leader of the LibDem Party are both women and Hazel Williams was widely thought to have been a particularly good Lord Mayor.
We also know that Jane Kennedy is keen to put her name forward as Labour's candidate for Police Commissioner, so at least that contest - in Labour terms - will have a woman showing passion and commitment, whether she wins the nomination (and the election) or not.
But where are all the women in this election for Mayor?
The biggest job on Merseyside, with the potential of the biggest mandate in the country - for a short while at least - after Boris Johnson (or Ken hopefully). 300,000 eligible voters will mean the winner in this election has more weight behind them than any MP...
So why have no women put themselves forward?
Have we no ambition? Are we scared of a big job? Do we think we would be wasting our time? Does the degree of public scrutiny put us off? The fish bowl that Cherie talked about? Do we not want to read comments about our skirt length or the colour of our lipstick or hair or age or the size of our bum? Is that it? Is it because we think it is a foregone conclusion? Do women not like to waste time on an election (or other campaign) they cannot foresee victory in?
Who might have stood? Paula Keaveney, Sarah Jennings, Hazel Williams, Maggie O'Carroll, Kath Flanagan, Caroline Kenyon, Joan Burnett, Babs Hennessy, Eithne Brown, Carla Lane, Colleen Rooney, hell, even Cilla Black and Ann Robinson might have thrown their hats into the ring. One of our MPs might have resigned to stand, like has happened in other cities elsewhere in the country. I don't know who I think should have had a go, but I had hoped to see a few women's names in the hat.
Perhaps like me they all want Joe Anderson to win and that is why they have not put their names forward. But forgive me, much as I would like to think that he will command every woman's vote in the city, I cannot help but think there is more to it than that.
What is putting off Liverpool women from pushing to the front?
And why did I find it so hard to think of prominent women in Liverpool even to add to my imaginary list of candidates?
I do sincerely hope that when Joe becomes our first Liverpool Mayor as he surely will, he will make it his business to elevate and promote women in the city - I don't mean that literally within the council, I mean that he will hold up women as good role models. That he will seek out, encourage and push good women to the front, encouraging them to become the leaders and heads of our Chamber of Commerce, our Universities, our Media, Police Force, Fire Service, MerseyTravel, the LEP, the Hospitals, Museums and Art Galleries...
This is the best city in the country, possibly in the world - but it has fallen short in this one regard, we are not giving the young women and girls good role models and we are not showing the truly equitable face that I am sure we do possess. It is not a man's city, but you could be forgiven for thinking it so.
PS Talking of Maggie O'Carroll, I was rather disturbed to see that although she was sitting next to Joe at his press conference (which perhaps explains why she isn't standing), she was not name checked in the Echo report or the caption or quoted in any way. Not even "Mystery blonde with Joe".... What is that all about? Why didn't the newspapers name her? Do they not know how important she is to all the women in our city?