BLOGS

“To change the conversation, we have to change who is part of it”

Why do we need more women in politics, and what are WE going to do about it?

The current gender spilt in the House of Commons stands at 32%, and at 26% in both the House of Lords and in the cabinet. We clearly need to be doing better.

Having a lack of gender representation present in the policy making processes becomes reflected at all levels. By not having these voices present in decision making committees, the wealth of experience and differential understanding of the impact of policy is lost. We end up with a lack of representation and therefore policies and decisions that are one dimensional, and are not necessarily effective for the people they are trying to protect.

This is the key motivator that underpins the Women's Equality Party. There is a need to do politics differently. The Women's Equality Party was set up in 2015 in response to the lack of progress in pushing forward gender equality, it was born out of frustration in the current state of affairs, and an idea that was voiced and grew with incredible momentum. The speed at which the party was set up, gained members, and became a national political force speaks to the need within UK politics to do things differently. The incredible step change we saw in our local election campaigns this spring shows the appetite for an alternative approach to politics.

Hearing the voices of women in politics is important if we are to push forward gender equality, if we are to help advance our society so that it truly works for both genders, and allows people to freely make choices that benefit them.

It is important to recognise that while women as a whole are the largest group of disadvantaged individuals, many women will experience additional inequalities due to the intersections of socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, immigration status, ethnicity, age, disability, and gender identity. This diversity of experience will never be truly reflected in our political spectrum until we begin to listen to these individuals. It is necessary to hear the voices of diverse women.

While the gender spilt in the House of Commons is poor, the representation of BME individuals is even worse, currently standing at 8% (4% female & 4% male). Devolution is a key aspect of this. The ways in which these intersections affect groups of individuals will vary according to region; what’s happening in Altrincham is different to what’s happening in Fulham.

You need local people, who understand the area, to be able to legislate around these issues. This in turn allows for our full potential to be reached, as a diverse society. Devolution is a unique opportunity, and not one to be wasted by following in our predecessors footsteps blindly.

We want to do politics differently; we will not allow women’s voices – including those of BAME women, disabled women, migrant women, working class women and LGBT+ women – to be drowned out. We are a party that is doing politics differently. Our policy is decided on by our members at conference, huge swathes of our members have never been involved in politics before, we are open (and enthusiastic) about collaborating with other political parties, our costed policies are up for grabs by anyone with the means to execute them! WE are a non-partisan political party, aiming to push the UK forward to being the first gender equal nation.

I am co-leader of the Manchester branch of the Women's Equality Party. There are other branches spread out across the north of England, we are joining forces to create a Northern hub, to make sure that regional differences are also heard within our party. 

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Read our latest guest blogs here or search for them by subject on the menu below. We are always looking for guest contributors for our blogs so if you’ve got something to say please email blogs@peoplespowerhouse.org.uk with a brief synopsis of what you’d like to write about and how it relates to our our five pillars of change.

* These blogs are a collection of thoughts and opinions from people living or working in the North. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the People's Powerhouse.

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