Campaigner : Community Activist :
Third Sector Leader
I am standing as a candidate for the Labour Party National Women’s Committee (2021) and this is the statement you can find on the ballot.
Please scroll down to find out more about me and to my priorities page for more detail
Candidate statement for the Women’s Committee
Working with grass roots Labour women members will be the foundation and guiding principle of my work, if I have the honour of being elected to the Women’s Committee.
I’ve been a grass roots, community activist and campaigner most of my adult life.
I learned my activism within the women’s liberation, lesbian and gay rights and animal rights movements.
Putting my beliefs and value system into action working in the third sector has been a privilege and the last 13 years leading Cardiff women’s aid, developing a feminist led, specialist VAWG service provider was everything I had hoped it would be.
These priorities I believe are critical:
- Women’s engagement and participation
- Ending violence against women and girls
- Women’s financial equality
- A feminist green new deal
I strongly believe that members of the Women’s Committee must be elected by women on a one woman one vote basis.
We can no longer accept business as usual in politics.
I want to see the Women’s Committee as the guardian of a woman’s right to state her views and beliefs in a safe and respectful environment.
Finally, the committee must put women’s rights and women’s safety first, and champion that position within the party.
I live in Cardiff a fantastic Labour-run City
I’m asking for your CLP’s delegates votes to elect me to the National Women’s Committee and this is why.
I am not a party insider and I have only recently been able to be politically active within the Labour party. I was always mindful of the potential for conflicts of interest in my role as the head of a third sector organisation, often chasing local or national government for funding or campaigning for policy change.
However, I have no concerns about my ability to hit the ground running and my fresh perspective coupled with my front line experience will be a huge benefit to the Committee.
Throughout my working life I have developed and managed projects delivering services directly to those most in need whether it was a new debt advice service, ensuring those entitled to welfare benefits both claimed and received them or sitting outside a magistrate’s court advising members of the public how to legally slow down and resist the criminalisation of the poor through the poll tax.
I have translated my experience on the front line to influencing policy and decision makers and through social policy work directly campaigned for changes in policy, procedure and legislation.
My experience, knowledge and expertise in women’s equality is also both rooted in developing and delivering services and working through a coordinated community approach to achieve lasting social change. I have developed and run women’s centres, lesbian lines and most recently established a girls centre to support higher engagement in STEM and provide a wider range of opportunities for girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Now I am able to fully commit to continue my fight for social change, justice and equality through party political action and activity. As such I’m not one for sitting back and watching the grass grow and I want to bring my lifetime of community activism, campaigning and working on the front lines of poverty, depravation, oppression and discrimination to support the Labour party and our shared ambitions to transform our communities and making lasting positive change in people’s lives.
As you know we have a Labour Government in Wales, and my local authority in Cardiff is also Labour-run, and we’ve done some things differently particularly around Violence against Women. I was proud to serve on a third sector advisory group of women’s organisations, which helped to shape the legislation which was truly ground-breaking.
I want to talk briefly about how I would wish to work as a committee member and the areas that I would expect the committee to prioritise.
Women and Violence – we have made progress on the issues of domestic violence/abuse, sexual violence/abuse, so called honour crimes; and awareness of FGM and the risks of forced marriage has increased. But we still have a long way to go. Even without a Labour government in Westminster local authorities have an enormous amount of influence and power in how they respond through commissioned services and a range of other interventions. It will be so important for the Committee to reach out and build strong and effective relationships with local Party members and support a more coherent and holistic approach across the UK.
Women and financial inequality – even if we needed the lesson that women are still not financially equal in our society the Covid pandemic has thrown that into sharp relief and I know I don’t need to rehearse that argument here. I also don’t need to make the argument that society relies on the unpaid work of women to keep the current system running. Women also fall off a cliff into poverty when they end their working lives and are poorer than their male counterparts. We have to stop just talking about this and find real solutions which will bring about structural change. I believe a key element of the Committee’s work will be to work across the Party to come up with a long term plan to move society towards true financial parity and equality.
Women’s participation and engagement – as a community activist and campaigner I have worked long and hard to engage women (and young people) from a wide range of socio economic and cultural backgrounds. And I have found without exception that if you offer a safe and supportive space with open and accessible pathways women, even those who for some organisation’s are ‘hard to reach’, will engage and get involved. We must do more to engage children and young people in civil society and political activity from an early age. And I think we would all agree that we need to do more to encourage and support women into politics and political activity.
Those are three huge areas of work and I have no illusions that it will be easy, nor that lasting and substantial change can happen without the full engagement and support of the whole Labour movement. This work must all be carried out within a framework of meaningful equality, diversity and inclusivity. We need a much better understanding of the multiple oppression and discrimination that some women, and particularly BAME women, experience as such we need robust and hard conversations around issues of intersectionality.
This will be the most important task of the National Committee, making alliances and getting these issues front and centre on the policy agenda of the Party.
I am asking for your support and nomination so that I can have a longer conversation about how I would like to work with the other members of the Committee to identify and execute an ambitious agenda that will garner widespread support and make a significant impact on Women’s lives.
The timescale for nominations from CLP’s is very tight particularly with local elections coming up but electing members of the National Women’s Committee must be a priority for the Party.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read through my statement. I look forward to having a longer conversation and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.
Cardiff South & Penarth CLP
I am standing as a candidate for the Labour Party National Women’s Committee (2021) and this is the statement you can find on the activist hub.
This was my initial statement on the democracy portal
Candidate statement for the Women’s Committee
I have been a community activist and campaigner for over 35 years. Through my activism within the women’s movement, with animal rights and environmental campaigns, and the lesbian and gay liberation movement where I started in the 1970’s, I developed skills, knowledge and expertise which shaped my approach to my community work and public service.
I have spent the last twenty-five years leading third sector organisations, including advice agencies, and most recently was CEO of Cardiff Women’s Aid a specialist Violence Against Women and Girls agency.
Throughout my adult life, I have engaged in direct action on a wide range of social justice issues, from homelessness to the poll tax, animal welfare and women’s rights. I am proud of having worked with other committed people on issues that were often very unpopular, to bring about changes in society’s attitude and achieve positive improvements for the most disadvantaged, oppressed and discriminated against.
I know how to build coalitions and alliances to achieve change and I will bring my front-line knowledge and understanding to inform policy development and debate.
Women’s financial inequality and addressing intersectional issues fully
End VAWG and address rising misogyny
Confront the barriers to women’s participation