Dawn Butler, Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Brent Central reports on the Labour Black Women's Network's first policy forum and training day.
On Saturday 7th June the Labour Black Women’s Network met for its first National Policy Forum and training day.
Labour Black Women’s Network (LBWN) is a community collective and was co-founded in 2010 by activists Caroline Alabi, Mandy Richards & Florence Nosegbe.
It was established to encourage, assist and support black women of African and African-Caribbean origins within the Labour Party, who wish to stand for party and/or public office by providing practical hands-on campaign support, peer-mentoring, advice and information via grassroots community organisation, targeted training seminars and conferences.
Ann McKechin, MP for Glasgow North and a member of the Business, Innovation and Skills committee on addressing the gender imbalance within the apprenticeships system.
The glass ceiling is a familiar metaphor; an invisible barrier which stops women, despite their talent and experience, from reaching the same heights as their male colleagues in business and public life.
But since the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee’s inquiry into Women in the Workplace reported last year, I have become more concerned with what we might call the ‘magnetic floor’; the range of factors constraining women at the start of their careers, channelling them into low paid work with few opportunities for progression, and limiting their ability to rise up the ranks into the ‘pipeline’ of executive talent in organisations as easily as their male peers.
Ant McCaul, LGBT Labour Campaigns Officer and Tom Burke, National Co-Chair, highlight what the 2014 local and European elections mean for LGBT people.
As LGBT people across the country go to the polls tomorrow it’s increasingly clear that only Labour is the party of equality.
Another day, another homophobic remark made by a UKIP or Tory candidate about LGBT people. It’s depressing to see this 'little Englander' mentality which harks back to a time of prejudice and discrimination.
Most recently is the turn of a Tory candidate in Newham complaining that Ofsted is trying to impose a “homosexual agenda” on schools.
Just over a year ago, on 24 April 2013, more than 1,100 people were killed and 2,500 injured in the collapse of a garment factory at Rana Plaza, Bangladesh. The victims were supplying the clothes that make their way onto our high street and which you and I wear daily without a second thought. The shock which reverberated around the world from the RanaPlaza catastrophe was genuine, but the sad truth is that the disaster revealed only the tip of an iceberg of horrific conditions and poverty pay for garment workers, not only in Bangladesh but across numerous countries.
Trevor Phillips’ recent report worryingly pointed out that there are just 10 people from ethnic minority backgrounds among the 289 Chairman, Chief Executives and Chief Finance Officers of FTSE 100 companies.
We should and we must challenge the private sector to do better, as the Government are doing with regard to women on boards. And just as with drives to increase the representation of women in positions of responsibility, I believe that the public sector needs to set an example to the private sector.
But just as with increasing the representation of women in positions of responsibility, this Government are failing to get their own house in order when it comes to harnessing the talents of those from BAME backgrounds, and in many cases are wiping out years of progress made by the last Labour government.
Fiona Mactaggart MP, Secretary of the Commission on Older Women, on Labour's commitment to delivering for older women.
A year and a half ago we launched Labour’s Commission on Older Women, chaired by Harriet Harman. Our rationale was simple – older women are disappearing from all walks of life and this is simply not right.
Since then the Commission has gone around the country to hear the voices of as many older women as we can – a journey made possible by the enthusiasm of my fellow Commissioners; presenters Miriam O’Reilly and Arlene Phillips, journalists Jackie Ashley and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Kay Carberry, Gloria Mills and Agnes Tolmie from the trade unions, Sonia Mangan from Age UK, Welsh AM Julie Morgan, media executive Dawn Airey and academic and Sure-Start innovator Naomi Eisenstadt.
Louise Baldock, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Stockton South, writes on what equal marriage means to her. The Marriage Act (Same Sex Couples) takes effect on March 29th.
When you fall in love with someone and everything is going really well, when you finally believe this is “the one” and the passage of time has done nothing to dispel that impression, your thoughts may well turn to making a permanent formal commitment to each other. You daydream for hours about which of you will propose, who will choose the rings, what you will wear, what the flowers will look like, what song will play when you walk down the aisle after the service and who will be present to witness and share in your joy.
At the end of last year, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, disgracefully equated vulnerable sections of society to ‘cornflakes’ in his infamous Margaret Thatcher speech. He also went on to state that inequality is ‘natural’ and ‘essential’. His oxymoronic cure for inequality (which in London equates to thousands using foodbanks and sleeping rough whilst the ‘super-rich’ thrive) is to cause further hardship for vulnerable groups because, he believes, it is healthy to foster a ‘spirit of envy’.
It is shameful that the Mayor of a city as diverse and wealthy as London can advocate such a view and get away with it.
I've spent the last couple of months travelling Britain listening to hundreds of women of all ages, backgrounds and races. From hair and beauty students to Woman's Own readers, city high fliers to new mums I've spent hour after hour listening and learning. It's been a fantastic experience confirming to me that if any politician wants to know what makes people angry, worried or inspired they should get the next train out of Westminster.
What did I learn on my what women want tour? I could tell you but then it would be my voice and not theirs’.
The 2014 European Elections will be a challenge in many ways - but increasingly the issue of BAME representation is one of those challenges even if it is not taken seriously. The UK has a handful of BAME MPs - and at last, in the last one or two electoral cycles this has finally begun to include BAME women, and BAME MPs who are no longer confined just to the Labour Party. This, and the Obama effect have all thrust us into a 'post race' world when it comes to BAME concerns in political selections.