In late breaking news, Flo Clucas, from Merseyside, for many years a key player at the EU Committee of the Regions, has announced her candidacy for the position of President of the European Liberal Women’s Network (ELWN). This is the message that she has sent to delegates here in Dublin…
This weekend at the ELDR Congress in Dublin, you will have an opportunity to vote for the President of the European Liberal Women’s Network. All delegates, men and women, will be able to vote, and I am writing to you because as a candidate for this important position, I wish to explain to you how I see ELWN contributing to the growth of ELDR and to the development of a more liberal Europe.
These are goals which we all share, irrespective of our gender and they are goals that have become ever more important in recent years. The uncertain times that we live in have raised doubts in our minds about the solidity of the Europe we have been building in the past six decades. We are not even as certain as we were just a few years ago that the lessons of Europe’s past have been fully learnt. We cannot be complacent and we must mobilise all liberal people in Europe in order to protect and strengthen the Union we are building, and in order to build a more liberal Europe.
Part of the answers lies in unlocking the economic potential of women. In the region of Merseyside alone, it is estimated that if there were as many female entrepreneurs as male, the GDP of the region would increase by double. We cannot achieve these goals of a stronger EU and a stronger ELDR without mobilising all liberals and that of course includes women.
There are thousands of liberal women out there who are not politically active. I believe ELWN should dedicate all its effort and energy to attracting those women to the ELDR and its member parties. For that we need to address the issues that are relevant to women, we need to find ways to empower them in society, and we need to make politics attractive to them, offering them knowledge and skills. And how best to achieve that than working with the women who are already active in our party, and working with the men who share this ambition and wish to contribute.
Two examples of my ideas include a leadership academy that would bring women from each of our member parties together, to learn, share experiences and to form the basis of a Europe wide network of future leaders; secondly, to initiate activities that will help women to become entrepreneurs using the experience I have gained in setting up the world’s first Women’s International Centre for Economic Development in Liverpool.
My experience in European and local politics, as President of the ALDE Group in the Committee of the Regions between 2006 and 2012, and having two spells as Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council, gives me the perspective of what Europe needs, and how to mobilise citizens and party activists at the most local level. Europe needs its liberals.
ELDR needs Europe’s liberals and we all need ELWN to unlock the potential of so many liberal women throughout out continent so that these uncertain times quickly become a brief episode in our continent’s history, and we can look with renewed confidence and optimism towards the future. I aspire to achieve that with your help and your support.
I hope that I can count on your vote at the Congress in Dublin.