Author Archives: Flo Clucas

More women in elected office will help tackle harassment and bad behaviour

Women have faced sexual exploitation and harassment since time immemorial. But today, something different is happening. Sex pests, gropers, untamed rapists, physical and mental abusers are being ‘outed’ and exposed by media outlets as they are named and shamed.

So, Michael Fallon has fallen on his sword. If all of the gossip is to be believed, then more will follow. It brings not only the individual into disrepute, but the system too, that allows those individuals to behave as they do, with impunity.

He says his behaviour of ten years ago is not acceptable today. I have news for him. It wasn’t acceptable then, either.

The abuse of women is a deep seated problem in our politics and our society. It is no wonder that so few women choose to stand for elected office at any level, as a recent report by the Fawcett Society pointed out.

Parliament, the centre of law making designed to protect the innocent, the young, the vulnerable from sexual  abuse, has shown itself incapable of protecting those within its own walls. The Westminster Village, where power and access to power seems able to protect perpetrators and where  party whips seemingly refuse to take action to curtail inappropriate and sometimes criminal, behaviour, has to change.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

Visibility of Women (or lack thereof)

‘Their heads are full of cotton hay and rags’, according to Prof Higgins.

Walk in any British city or town and see if, as you walk, there are any commemorative works of art. War memorials you will almost certainly see. Royalty you will almost certainly see. Famous men you will almost certainly see.

Then, look to see how many women are commemorated. Queen Victoria and the Virgin Mary apart, few places have statuary of real women.

The statue of Millicent Fawcett, which will shortly be sited in Parliament Square, is, therefore, highly unusual and hugely significant. Of some 925 commemorative pieces in Britain, …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 4 Comments

What Brexit means for women

Recently, an event was held in London, to discuss Brexit, and its effect on the rights of women and what might change following its implementation. As a participant, I had arrived with the view that it would be difficult to change the law as it stood, but new laws might be affected.

For the last 43 years, most if not all of our Equalities legislation has come through the European Union. For women in particular, that has changed both their entitlements and rights as matters from equal pay to maternity leave have been secured by that route. It is astonishing to think that women, up until that legislation was passed, had more rights in Anglo Saxon England than in the 800 or so years that followed the Norman invasion.

What transpired at the meeting caused much anxiety among those present. For it is the case that, as most if not all of our Equalities law emanates from Brussels. It has been adopted into UK law, so can be cut back by use of new powers currently going through Parliament.

There are several risk areas, according to the Fawcett Society, which cover rights at work, women’s economic life, safety from attacks and racism. Those explicitly protective of women such as the Pregnant Workers Directive, or indirect protection such as that provided by The Part Time Worker Directive and the Agency Directive, which protects pension rights, written contracts giving details of working hours and pay and parental leave. It matters for those working part time, where the majority are women.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 9 Comments

Lib Dem Women at Conference: First steps on a long road towards equality in Parliament

There is a television advertisement for a well-known bank that has the strap line ‘for the journey’. You may know it.

First steps in a political career can be very daunting and extremely difficult. Much of the research shows that for women, particularly with family responsibilities, the passage from Newbie to Old Hand can be more of an impossible dream than a real prospect. Even with a supportive family, it isn’t easy. So, is there a way that we, as the Liberal Democrat Party, with our constitution proudly proclaiming that we do not want anyone ‘enslaved by gender’ can begin to ease the way?

LDW has asked each of our new women Members of Parliament to describe their journey. To tell us not only how they made the transition from Candidate to MP, but also what their experience of Parliamentary life has been. We need to learn from their experience and use it to make change possible during our Decade for Women.

Posted in News | Tagged | 7 Comments

Working towards a Decade for Women – Come and be part of it!

‘Ce n’est pas la conscience des hommes qui détermine leur être; c’est inversement leur être social qui détermine leur conscience’. Marx

Roughly translated: ‘you are who you are because of your life experience, not the other way round’.

It may seem strange to begin an article on LDW’s elections with a quotation from Marx, but it is apt and points to why LDW exists within the party. LDW next year anticipates launching its ‘Decade for Women’. A decade that will seek to change how women in decision making are perceived, vastly increase the number of the party’s women MPs, Council leaders and …

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International Office supports the next generation of women leaders from Nasa Stranka, Bosnia’s ‘Women’s Party’

International officeSarajevo is not a city I ever expected to see, and Bosnia is not a country that I ever expected to be at the sharp end of encouraging women into political life. Yet here I was, travelling to Sarajevo with the International Office to encourage and train young women in the basics of being a councillor and a candidate!

Nick Thorne, Research Officer in the International Office, travelled with me and we were later joined by Sara Bashford, a Conservative Councillor, and Anna Birley, a Labour Councillor, who were to work with us on cross-party sessions later in the weekend.

Posted in Europe / International | 1 Comment

Opinion: Gender quotas are the sensible way forward

laura-willoughby-encurages-women-to-become-council-candidates‘In every aspect of life in which women are undervalued, under-represented or exploited we are dedicated to achieving equality.’ (from the Preamble of the Constitution of Liberal Democrat Women)

John Stuart Mill would have been outraged that, in the second decade of the 21st century, women are still under-valued, exploited and under-represented, for it was he, speaking in the House of Commons in May 1867, who advocated votes for women.

Yet, here we are 150 years later, still trying to have equality in our society. Yes, we have women’s suffrage, but at the present rate of change, we will not have a gender balanced Parliament until 2050.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 42 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Harding 18th Nov - 5:11pm
    Is this just HQ staff or does this include the staff we have working for local parties?
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 18th Nov - 4:08pm
    @ Andy Daer, "the intelligentsia of the country are on our side" They, and yourself, may think they are "the intelligentsia", but, generally speaking, they,...
  • User AvatarDavid Warren 18th Nov - 3:11pm
    Thanks Lorenzo Unfortunately the sad fact is that my current condition is permanent. I have tried everything and there doesn't appear to be any cure.
  • User AvatarAndy Daer 18th Nov - 2:27pm
    Frankie, 70% of MPs are on our side, the intelligentsia of the country are on our side (sorry, Leavers - but it's true), the EU...
  • User AvatarMike Read 18th Nov - 1:55pm
    From a Devon & Somerset perspective, the West Country Lib Dem slump v the Tories pre-dates the Coalition. In the 2009 Devon county council elections,...
  • User Avatarfrankie 18th Nov - 1:40pm
    Apologies second part of the comment should have been to Andy not Peter. I fear my brain is going all Brexiteer on me.