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.

LDW is therefore delighted to have all our newly elected women MPs at our fringe meeting on 18th September. Chaired by Baroness Lorely Burt, the party’s Equalities Spokesperson, this promises to be a cracker of a meeting.

 First steps on a long road to equality in Parliament?

Rt Hon Jo Swinson MP

Wera Hobhouse MP

Christine Jardine MP

Layla Moran MP

Followed by a Q&A and general discussion.

Chair:  Baroness Lorely Burt, Equalities Spokesperson

Monday 18th September

Sherborne Suite, Marriott Highcliff Hotel




* Flo Clucas OBE is the President of the ALDE Gender Equality Network and former President of the ALDE Group on the EU Committee of the Regions. She was a councillor in Liverpool City Council for 26 years.

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  • Ruth Bright 14th Sep '17 - 7:21pm

    Flo – why do you think there has been so much dragging of feet in the party about maternity leave for candidates? After a decade of nagging the powers that be have said they will now recognise having a baby as one reason for a PPC to take leave but they will not elevate maternity leave to anything with any rights or safeguards attached. My eldest is fourteen and I have been going on about this since I was pregnant with her in my early days as a PPC!

    It is infuriating that we are letting the Labour party making all the running on this.

  • Liberal Maverick 15th Sep '17 - 2:48pm

    Great stuff and it is really good to see some women amongst the ranks of Lib Dem MPs.

    The next step needed is representation from what I believe are called people from lower socio economic backgrounds.

    Women and men.

  • We are planning on having a Q&A session in our meeting, so, Ruth, please ask your question!
    Liberal Maverick, I agree. The Liberal Democrats should represent all sectors of society, so, it is down to us to make that happen. Women are still significantly under represented, which is why LDW is concentrating in that area.

  • Liberal Maverick 15th Sep '17 - 7:16pm

    Thanks Flo, I wish you and your colleagues well.

  • Thanks Flo. Not feeling up to or up for conference but perhaps some kind soul might ask the question for me!

  • I will try to arrange it. Hope you are feeling better soon.

  • Daphne Cotton 18th Sep '17 - 12:33pm

    Sadly I can’t be at the conference but I would like to put forward the idea that we will never have gender equality until we address equality between parents and non-parents in the workplace. And this might at the same time address the fact that lower socio-economic groups are underrepresented in Parliament. Unless you have sufficient money and/or support it is extremely difficult to do both jobs well. We need some really progressive thinking on working practices and expectations if we want young mothers and fathers to have the time to parent well and also do their jobs. I would be grateful if someone could raise this at conference.

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