Shaping the future: Making a difference

Many of us came into politics to change the way things were and are.

For me, like many others, the woman who encouraged me into politics, was Shirley Williams. She was an inspirational figure, able to reach out to those, like me, who were new to the idea of activism and afraid that we wouldn’t fit in.

Shirley was of course famous. But my political apprenticeship didn’t stop with her. Other women, such as Lesley Abdela who founded the 300 Group, taught me a huge amount.

Learning from those who had experienced the ups and downs of politics, fought discrimination and went on to make a difference, was amazing. They brought us in, inspired us, taught us and gave us the chance to speak and express our opinions. They are remarkable, inspirational women.

But, progress, encouragement and opportunity has carried on, not stopped with them. The future builds on the past, but doesn’t rest there!

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Liberal Democrat Women and four constituency parties: Richmond, Sutton, Kingston and Merton, are holding a special conference:

Shaping the Future; Making a Difference

This will be a unique chance to hear from some truly inspirational women from within the party and beyond.

But it will be more. In the afternoon there will be a series of practical workshops focusing on women in community activism, politics, public life, business, tech, creative industries and also explore strategies for encouraging women to participate.

The event is being jointly sponsored by Lib Dem Women and the local parties in the London Boroughs of Richmond, Kingston, Sutton and Merton.

Among our keynote speakers will be:

Party President Baroness Sal Brinton;

LDW President and former Business Minister, Baroness Lorely Burt;

Diversity Champion Baroness Floella Benjamin, author, actress, television performer;

Prof Sue Black Professor, Computer Science; tbc

Sam Smethers Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society. tbc

This is your opportunity to raise issues, propose new ways forward and work with a range of like minded people to look at how ww can change things for the better, not just in the party, but for all women, everywhere. So, put the date in your diary. Come and join us and take part in what promises to be a lively, enjoyable, inspirational day!

You will find full details on here..

* 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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