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.
In the first of a series of blogposts Gloria De Piero MP, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, reflects on listening events held with women across the country as part of her 'What Women Want' tour.
This week in every region of Britain Labour women have been hosting what women want listening events in celebration of International Women’s Day.
I've spent the last couple of months travelling the UK listening to hundreds of women of all ages, backgrounds and perspectives. From hair and beauty students, Woman's Own readers, from city high fliers to expectant mums.
Melanie Ward, who sits on the Advisory Board of the Labour Campaign for International Development, writes on tackling global poverty.
For Labour, internationalism is in our party’s DNA. We know that the place and circumstances in which you were born should not determine your chances in life. Our vision of social justice and equality doesn’t stop at Britain’s borders; it spans the globe.
It’s hard to think of an issue where such an approach is needed more than gender inequality. Women are half of the world’s population yet make up 70% of the global poor.
Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, explains why Labour is the true party of the family.
Over the years, family policy has been highly contested. It used to be assumed that the Tories were the party of the family and their approach defined family policy. It meant taking a judgmental view about families - that they must be married and stay married. It promoted the view that support services - like childcare - should be there but only for "failing families".
Those of us who argued for the right to divorce and for rights for women within the family were characterised as anti-family.
Reema Patel, National Secretary of the Fabian Women's Network Executive, on the impact of the Fabian Women's Network Mentoring Scheme
Most mentoring and development programmes are judged by the impact they have - and in this respect the Fabian Women's Network's mentoring scheme is remarkable. Designed and run for four years by Fabian woman Christine Megson, the scheme has had over 70 members on its intakes - with over 20 of those women standing for local council, MEP candidates selected from the crop, and four Prospective Parliamentary Candidates selected through the development programme.
Bex Bailey, Youth and Student Rep on Labour’s NEC, explores the challenges faced by women in the workplace:
Women are being routinely failed in their workplaces.
According to the TUC, a woman in work today is earning 15.7% less on average than men. In spite of this, the Government has decided not to fully implement measures passed by the last Labour government, which would have required employers to undertake pay audits, weakening efforts to ensure equal pay in the private sector.
Women are far more likely to be working in part-time jobs, where the pay gap not only increases but jobs are often characterised by low pay and poor promotion prospects.
Labour activist and National Policy Forum member Emma Burnell compares the progress political parties are making in terms of women’s representation.
Recently, Ed Miliband succeeded in dramatically showing up the Conservative Party for the unrepresentative body they are, pointing out at PMQs that there were no women on their front bench.
Already one in ten of the Conservative Women MPs elected in 2010 have announced they are standing down at the next election.
For me I think it highlights two things: firstly that Labour have more women in Parliament and in senior positions because we have been consistently working at it for many years.
It has been 75 days since I was sitting in the public gallery of the Scottish Parliament listening to the stage 1 debate Scotland’s Equal Marriage Bill. But finally the stage 3 debate is only a matter of hours away and Equal Marriage in Scotland is within touching distance.
I say Equal Marriage because as the bill stands at the moment it not only provides a balance between equality and freedoms of religion and speech; it has also removed the spousal veto on gender recognition. The bill is truly equal for all members of the LGBT Community in Scotland.
Ten years ago, the Labour Party abolished Section 28. In 2004, the Labour Party played a key role in passing legislation for civil partnerships, paving the way for a successful equal marriage vote in 2013. We have come so far in just a few years but there is still so much more work to be done.
LGBT Labour Scotland welcomes the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Bill. We believe the legislation will be a huge step forward for equality in Scotland, and that it provides a balance between equality and freedoms of religion and speech.