Tag Archives: equality

Jenny Willott on action to get more girls into science and technology based careers

Teen scientist Alexa Dantzler in the labToday is the first National Women in Engineering Day. This BBC story tells of both the success of apprenticeships (the expansion of which was personally championed by Nick Clegg, and how women are establishing successful engineering careers. Earlier this month, Equalities Minister Jenny Willott launched a project, Opening Doors, aimed at getting more girls into science based careers. The aim is to get women with successful careers into schools to inspire girls to take science subjects and follow them through into university and, …

photo by: IntelFreePress
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Cambridge Liberal Democrat Sarah Brown up for a National Diversity Award

Sarah_Brown_(politician)Voting is currently underway for the National Diversity Awards 2014. These annual awards, whose headline sponsors are Microsoft and The Guardian, are a celebration of those in the UK who have shown an outstanding devotion to enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion.

This year I nominated fellow Lib Dem Sarah Brown for the LGBT Positive Role Model Award. Sarah has just ended a term as a Cambridge City Councillor and headed up their leisure and community services as the councillor in charge. She was one of the only openly trans elected …

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone: More action needed on reproductive rights for all

Lynne FeatherstoneThis week, International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone is attending the UN Commission on Population and Development. She has written for the Huffington Post about how crucial it is to make sure that women have the choice about when to have children by having access to contraception, potentially saving 800 lives every day:

Globally there are 222million women who wish to space or delay the timing of births, but do not have access to modern forms of contraception. This has real and devastating consequences on their lives. In 2010, 800 women a day died from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth and in 2008 an estimated 8.7million young women aged 15 to 24 in developing countries resorted to unsafe abortions. All of this was preventable.

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Opinion: I will not hide…

rainbow flag on white background  : harvey milk plaza, san francisco (2012)Boy, has this been a tough week. This week I suffered some homophobia. This is tough to write.

It came in the form of an e-mail from someone who should know better, but sadly doesn’t.

Someone who believes their faith gives them the right to put pen to paper (or fingers to keypad) and accuse me of being immoral.

I’ve been lucky since I came out as a gay man, in 2011, in that I’ve faced very little homophobia (at least that …

photo by: torbakhopper
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Lynne Featherstone MP writes…A great leap backwards for gay rights

Uganda’s new anti-homosexuality legislation is abhorrent. It imposes draconian penalties for repeat offences of homosexuality, so-called ‘aggravated’ homosexuality, same-sex marriage, attempting to commit homosexuality and for the loosely defined ‘promotion’ of homosexuality. This is nothing short of a great leap backward – not just for Uganda but for gay rights across Africa. I believe it marks a growing state-backed homophobic trend across the continent, one we cannot and should not ignore.

From Day 1 in my role as Africa minister at the Department for International Development (DFID), strengthening the department’s LGBT rights strategy has been one of my top priorities. I …

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Jenny Willott: Gender stereotyping of toys harms the economy

I’ve been an auntie for 21 years and a mother for almost 15. In that time, it’s safe to say that a large part of my disposable income has gone on toys. I find nothing more frustrating than going to a toy shop and finding that the wares are segregated into boys’ and girls’ stuff. Often the girls’ stuff is all pink and glittery and sparkly and involves dollies or little dogs or animals to put in houses. Anything remotely interesting that you can build or make rather than look after is over in the boys’ section.

Now, I don’t have …

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Opinion: The male voice on Female Genital Mutilation

Please note that the second paragraph of this article contains some graphic details of the procedure of FGM which some people might find distressing.

I’m very glad to see Liberal Democrats at the forefront of the drive to rid this country and the world of female genital mutilation (FGM), one of the most horrible expressions of male power over the female. The debate about it, around the world, as well as in this country, is often blurred by comparisons with male circumcision, which many people also campaign against actively (and in my view rightly). When the topic of FGM comes …

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Opinion: So who are those Rock the Boat people?

Rock the Boat logoEleven months ago the Liberal Democrat world was tipped on its axis when Channel 4 broadcast reports from women making serious allegations of sexual harassment against one of the Party’s most senior, loved and respected figures.  As the sorry tale unfolded it was clear that the party had failed to deal with the complaints they had made and had failed to let anyone involved in the terrible situation get justice. It became clear that we, as an organisation, had a cultural problem and no idea of how to get our house in order.

As one would expect – if you know Lib Dems at all – the grassroots spoke, and James Shaddock set up a Facebook group called “Rock the Boat.” It grew rapidly and now has over 400 Liberal Democrat members.  The idea was that sometimes you have to say or do uncomfortable things to stop sexual harassment – whether that is to speak out about your own experiences, write policy motions, tell your friends if you think they are behaving inappropriately, or even reflect on your own actions and behaviours and perhaps change them after some soul searching and analysis. Sadly, eleven months ago it became quite obvious that when people had spoken up on sexual harassment, they had been told “Don’t Rock the Boat” – hence the name.

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Opinion: Merry Christmas, Mr Turing

Merry Christmas. What’s on your tree this year? Baubles? Tinsel? Some of that fake snow that looks a bit like candy floss and gets everywhere by New Year? Almost certainly some fairy lights.

However you decorate your Christmas tree, you would probably think it looked a bit bare if it only had the star on the top. You’d be right. Which is why, however big an achievement it is for those who have campaigned for it, I can only raise one-and-a-half cheers today at the news Alan Turing has at long last received a posthumous pardon for the conviction he received …

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Opinion: Women must stop stepping into the political shoes of men

It’s a cute piece of research for two reasons. It sits comfortably with what so many of us think, even if we don’t say it out loud. Yet it challenges every one of us.

University of Pennsylvania researchers have shown that women’s brains are wired from left to right – that’s linking logic with intuition. In men, the neural connections go from front to back. That strengthens their spatial and motor skills. This research suggests that those age old stereotypes are true. Overall men are better at reading maps and being single-minded when tackling a problem. Women are in general …

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Liberals launch new European network for LGBT rights

Giles Goodall at ALDELast weekend, over a thousand European liberals met in London for the annual ALDE congress, hosted by the Lib Dems and opened by Nick Clegg. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe – the European family of liberal parties – became the first to adopt their joint manifesto for next May’s elections to the European Parliament.

But a second historic event took place at the congress: the launch of a new European liberal campaign for LGBT rights: Liberals for Equality. LGBT rights are human rights, …

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Opinion: Race must be central to rebuilding and reorientating the party

Black, Asian and minority ethnic voters could help the Lib Dems could win seats from the Conservatives in 2015 if we improve our appeal to the BME community.

The Guardian ran a front page today based on a new study by Operation Black Vote which found 168 marginal seats where BME voters outnumber the majority of the sitting MP, far outnumbering the swing 100 seats that could change the government.

The study, which I authored, also reveals there are 13 marginal constituencies where Lib Dems are in second-place and where the BAME electorate is larger than the majority of the sitting …

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Nick needs to talk the talk as well as walk the walk on women’s equality

Some of the things Nick Clegg has championed in Government have been revolutionary for women. He’s spent years talking about shared parental leave, for example, and it’s now on the way to becoming a reality.  His interest in improving mental health and smashing the related stigma doesn’t just help women, but it does show that he’s willing to take a stand to challenge our long held assumptions. He quickly and vocally embraced equal marriage to the delight of those of us who have supported it for decades.

I know that Nick gets it on a lot of the barriers facing women …

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LibLink…Jo Swinson: Only women can help us now

Jo Swinson has been writing for Management Today about the importance of ensuring that businesses ensure that women have equal opportunity to reach senior and board levels of companies.

Women are vital to Britain’s economic recovery and we need to ensure we are making full use of their talents. That’s why the government is focused on removing the barriers that prevent women from getting ahead and achieving their full potential. We simply can’t afford to lose out on the talents and skills of over half the population.

She acknowledged progress on this but said that there was more to be done, outlining …

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Opinion: Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference supports retention of Section 3 of the Equality Act

At the Welsh Liberal Democrat conference in Cardiff yesterday, a comfortable majority of representatives carried a motion urging that Lib Dem peers be allowed to vote with their consciences on amendment 35 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. By so allowing, the party will send out the signal that our commitment to equality and human rights is undiminished despite being in coalition with a party whose commitment is at best questionable.

Amendment 35 was originally moved in the Lords by disability campaigner Baroness Jane Campbell and passed in March, supported by Labour, cross Benchers, a majority of Lib Dem peers, …

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Opinion: Why we’re rocking the boat in Brighton this weekend

I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership in relation to the party over the past few weeks in the wake of the allegations about the conduct of Lord Rennard, which he denies.

Why did no one tackle this effectively at the time? Why did it take several brave women talking to the media for us to finally deal with such a serious problem?

Credit where credit is due, Tim Gordon, the party’s Chief Executive has been impressive so far but is it enough?

Not for me or other Liberal Democrats members. That is why we set up

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Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece writes…

On Monday 4 March, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, a renowned and respected disability rights campaigner, tabled an amendment, to which I included my name and support, opposing the Government’s proposal to repeal the ‘General Duty’ of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, arguing that doing so will fundamentally change the purpose, role and scope for the only equality and human rights statutory organisation in the UK.

The General Duty says that the EHRC ‘shall discharge its functions with a view to encouraging and supporting a society in which:

.. people’s ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice or discrimination,

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Marriage for same sex couples, but not yet equal for all…

In 2013 we celebrate 15 years of having been ‘going out’ together.  That’s a long time to be ‘going out’ – even for the decidedly commitment-phobic.

Over the last fifteen years we have attended many weddings, christenings, funerals of friends and family that mark out the great stations of life.

Apart from the occasional birthday bash and Eurovision party- we haven’t provided a similar opportunity for our friends and family to celebrate our life together.

On Tuesday the House of Commons will have a free vote on the Marriage (same sex couples) Bill – it’s not a perfect bill and in committee and …

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Opinion: You know what, equality impact assessments can be quite useful

Rainbow - Some rights reserved by @Doug88888Equality Impact Assessments are carried out by local councils to judge how their decisions will affect some of the most marginal communities in their area. But there are calls now to scrap the process as part of the Tory mantra on scrapping red tape.

I know that some authorities have turned EIAs into the worst extremes of political correctness gone mad.

But the truth is that councils (and the Government too please) should be

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South Bronx is just as important as Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall

South Bronx - Some rights reserved by Nathan CongletonIt is lovely to watch a US President taking the oath of office and not be scared. The feeling of dread I experienced in 1981 and 2001 when Reagan and the younger Bush took office was not pleasant. While Barack Obama has not been perfect, his heart is generally in the right place. His achievements in his first term are all the more remarkable when you consider that he faced a Congress full of some of the most right wing, conservative Republicans we’ve seen in our lifetimes whose sole aim was to thwart his every move.

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Opinion: Job share MPs – an idea whose time has come

As regular LDV readers may know, I’ve long advocated the idea of allowing candidates to put themselves forward for election on a job-share basis (letting constituents decide whether they want to elect job-share MPs). Today a Bill making this possible will be presented to the House of Commons.

The Representation of the People (Members’ Job Share) Bill will be introduced as a Private Member’s Bill by Labour MP John McDonnell. It will be interesting to see how much cross-party support the Bill gets. Individual Lib Dems have certainly been sympathetic to its aims. Mark Williams MP tabled an Early Day Motion …

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Jo Swinson becomes Platform 51′s Woman of the Week

Charity Platform 51, which works towards a world where “women and girls are in control of their lives”, is highlighting an MP from each party during Conference season who has made a stand for equality and inclusion.

For the Liberal Democrats, it’s Jo Swinson who has been given the accolade of women and the week after her keynote speech in Brighton. They also recognise her decade of work on issues relating to equalities.

Platform 51 say:

Jo has also chaired the Liberal Democrats Women’s Policy Working Groupwhich focuses on tackling some of the key areas that Platform 51 works with women and girls.  These include money (pay,

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Featherstone and Crockart slam Page 3

A petition calling on the editor of the Sun to withdraw the Page 3 feature has gained more than 13,000 signatures in the last 2 days. I’m supporting this campaign because I strongly believe that a national newspaper showing half clothed women is a significant background note in the cultural melody which stops women from being treated as equal citizens.  How am I supposed to convince my daughter that she’s an equal member of society when she sees women portrayed as little more than window dressing for the express entertainment of men?

Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West Mike Crockart …

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Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece writes: Towards racial equality

Nick Clegg said in his keynote speech to Autumn Conference last year that his objective is:

A fair start for every child… we allow prejudice, tradition and class to crush a million hopes and dreams….that’s why I have been leading the charge for social mobility – for fairer chances, for real freedom.

Liberal Democrats want to see opportunity unconstrained by discrimination, and with equal life chances with respect to ethnicity.

The world has become a smaller place. Improving transport links and technological breakthroughs are drawing the people of the world closer together. In socially and racially diverse 21st Century Britain we need to …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 1st Aug - 1:42am
    Globalisation has meant that products once made in the Uk are now often made in Asia and services, like computer programming, once provided by UK...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 1st Aug - 1:13am
    We get a lot of these LDV "Labservatives go crazy in Little Wotting" articles. Invariably, before we can understand what is really going on, we...
  • User AvatarMatGB 1st Aug - 12:57am
    Mike, that's part of the agreement with the Tories, although they haven't agreed to it yet they have agreed to run a consultation on it.
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 1st Aug - 12:43am
    @James Brough No, the LibDems were not known as the Liberals then, nor are they the Liberals now. The Liberals still exist as a separate...
  • User AvatarMike Drew 1st Aug - 12:40am
    Why not scrap the Cabinet system and run by proportionate committees - no need to worry about joint administrations. Back in the days of Avon...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 1st Aug - 12:39am
    Clegg should have been forced out for that and for any number of other errors and betrayals. But he wasn't, because too many of us...