Tag Archives: international women’s day

International Women’s Day – #AskHerToStand

100 years since women got the vote, and Parliament still woefully lags behind in terms of gender equality.

Whilst there are more women in Parliament than ever before, we are still on 32% of the Commons. We languish at 49th in the world for the number of women in Parliament. At this rate it will take 50 years to achieve gender equality in Parliament. 100 years after women won the right to vote 50:50 are aiming to achieve better gender balance in Parliament sooner than this.

I was thrilled to

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It’s International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world. The theme this year is #PressforProgress. One startling fact: the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report shows that gender parity is 217 years away!

And on to harassment in its many forms – our own Wera Hobhouse MP is calling on the government to make upskirting a criminal offence as reported by Caron on Tuesday. Wera says,

The fact that this is not a sexual offence in England baffles me, as much as it horrifies me. In Scotland upskirting was made an offence back in 2009. There is simply no excuse for ignoring this issue any longer.

Relying on outraging public decency is absurd. It should not matter how public it was or who else saw it. The law should focus on the individual victims and the crime committed against them. It is their body that is being taken advantage of without their consent.

But true equality is about resolving power inequality. Professor Mary Beard’s latest book, Women and Power, discusses the structures inherent in society which need to change. In discussions with a friend this week we realised that until we get most histories written by women, most laws written by women, society governed by women in the majority at every level, we will never achieve gender equality. The world is not only run predominantly by men but is also contextualised in books, histories, films, etc., by men. The whole world is skewed by a man’s perspective on everything. Living is framed by men.

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Inspiring women: Sarah Olney MP

How brilliant was it at 3 whatever it was in the morning of 1st December when Sarah Olney was declared the MP for Richmond Park? She certainly deserves to be acclaimed as one of this year’s inspiring Lib Dem women. Her speech at the count, full of liberal principle, got many of us in the gut.

Last week, she spoke for the party in the International Women’s Day Debate in the Commons. Here is her speech in full:

May I say how pleased I am to represent the Liberal Democrats in this debate on International Women’s Day, as the 454th female MP? I am proud to say, in contrast to some previous Members’ contributions, that I am not the first, nor even the second, woman to have held my seat. I am, in fact, the third Liberal Democrat woman to represent Richmond Park, and I am extremely proud of that.

One of the advantages of being a London MP is that I get to go home to my family every evening and spend time with them every morning. As the mother of young children, this is a particular blessing to me, but it does mean that I live a life of contrasts. Yesterday, for example, I spent the first part of the morning trying to get my son to clean his teeth and my daughter to brush her hair. I then travelled into Westminster and challenged the Prime Minister in the Chamber about her spending priorities for education. Of the two things, the latter was more remarked upon—it was heard by Members here, recorded in Hansard and shared on Twitter—but getting my son to clean his teeth was the greater achievement in many ways. It took more ingenuity, effort and emotional commitment, but nobody noticed, cared or applauded me for it.

It often sounds ironic or self-deprecating to refer to the tasks of motherhood as being more taxing than tasks carried out in the professional sphere, but in this case, I am not being ironic; it is precisely true. We are so used to underplaying the work we do as mothers and in the home that we do not think anyone will take us seriously if we talk seriously about it. So today, in the spirit of the motion to recognise the achievements of women, I want to celebrate the everyday, unacknowledged, unrewarded and unnoticed achievements of women.

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Inspiring Lib Dem Women: Kelly-Marie Blundell

On this International Women’s Day, we are celebrating some inspiring Lib Dem Women.

Since being selected PPC for Lewes, which requires just a 1% swing to take it back from the Tories, Kelly-Marie Blundell has been a campaigning force, increasing the local membership, helping to elect four new Lib Dem councillors in by-elections, campaigning against Brexit and just this Saturday collecting an impressive 700 signatures for the rights of resident EU citizens.

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Inspiring Lib Dem Women: The women who chair our state and federal parties

For the first time in our history, women are at the helm of all three state parties and the federal party.

Of course, Sal Brinton is our federal party President. I am constantly in awe of her seemingly endless patience as she has to navigate all the different interest groups in the party and bring them all together to agree on a way forward.

I shudder to think how many hundreds of thousands of miles she has travelled in her two an a bit years as President through a General Election, Welsh and Scottish elections and visiting every by-election. She spent a few days in Cornwall the other week boosting their county council campaign and then popped up in Stoke several times – including the gruelling all night shift.

As well as all this she puts in some considerable work in the Lords. Watch her speak here on the effect that Brexit will have on health and social care.

On International Women’s Day, it is appropriate to recognise her work in protecting her students from harassment by introducing considerate conduct contracts for construction workers.

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Inspiring Lib Dem women: Elaine Bagshaw

Today on International Women’s Day, we are celebrating some fantastic Lib Dem Women.

Remember back in 2015 after that devastating General Election when we all just wanted to hide under our duvets and make the next five years go away? Well, Elaine Bagshaw didn’t have time to do that, because she had to fly the Lib Dem flag in the Tower Hamlets mayoral by-election caused by the disqualification of the previous incumbent.

She made progress in that election and since then she has led her local party from strength to strength. As the candidate for Poplar and Limehouse, she is out there campaigning most days. Her local party membership is over 550 and she is working hard for her community. Late one recent Saturday night, she featured on local Bengali channel NTV talking about the Lib Dem perspective on Brexit and Trump and did such a good job of explaining our position.

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LibLink: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: I don’t want my 3 sons to grow up in a world where girls feel second rate

Another Lib Dem woman who inspires many – in fact, she makes a mission of Inspiring Women is Miriam Gonzalez Durantez.

She has written for the Telegraph about the need for men and women to work together to make life better for the next generation of boys and girls.

She outlines the threats to hard-won progress:

In the US, President Donald Trump is putting into question women’s reproductive rights; in Russia, laws are being considered to decriminalise some aspects of domestic violence.

Just last week, a Polish MEP declared that women should earn less than men because they are “weaker, smaller and less intelligent.” Breitbart, the right-wing website pioneered by Steve Bannon, now Trump’s chief strategist, has claimed that birth control makes women unattractive and crazy. And so on.

Women still suffer from society’s expectations:

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Lorely Burt writes: We can’t call ourselves a democracy when men monopolise public life

The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is ‘Be Bold for Change’ – this got me thinking about how we, as Liberal Democrats, can do our bit to help forge a better and more gender equal world. Of course, as a party we have already taken a great leap forward for the future to make sure we reflect the diversity of the country with the ‘Electing Diverse MPs’ motion passed almost a year ago. But as individuals what can we do to make sure that more women get involved and active in the party at every level?

It was less than six months ago that we, both men and women pulling together, managed to get Sarah Olney elected to Parliament. Like many of you there was a defining moment that made her join the Liberal Democrats and get stuck in, but we have to remember that not all women will put themselves forward like that and some may need more encouragement than others. We all have a responsibility to reach out to those women we think would make great Liberal Democrat elected representatives, and let’s face it we can all think of one or two. The evidence is clear – if a woman is approached to stand then she is most likely to consider it.

Change will not happen overnight, it will take all our efforts to make these incremental changes. Let us never be complacent, as this year’s theme reminds us – we must be bold. We are a country that prides itself on being progressive and inclusive – yet Parliament, our country’s highest decision-making body, is only 30% female.

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Inspiring Lib Dem Women: Daisy Benson

On this International Women’s Day, we are celebrating some inspiring Lib Dem Women.

PPC for Yeovil Daisy Benson’s infectious liberalism and energy has led her to be one of the driving forces behind the Lib Dem Newbies group on Facebook.

As a councillor in Reading, she was the executive member for housing  and social care.

She was one of the most successful early social media campaigners, recognising that it’s not just a  broadcast platform but a space for dialogue.

Daisy is now concentrating her energies on winning back the Yeovil seat. We need her energy and ideas in Parliament.

This week she’s been featured on the Daily Politics. Watch below:

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International Women’s Day – Who cares?

Today we are celebrating International Women’s Day.  For some, it is a chance to recognise the achievements of women in the arts, sport and science; to others it is an opportunity to highlight inequalities. I wish to do both: to celebrate the contribution women make up and down this country although that contribution causes them more inequality. I speak of caring.

In the world of caring, women are indispensable. And undervalued. 58% of carers in the U.K. are women, but in relation to the number of hours worked the percentage is higher. European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality commissioned report found that European women spend an average of 26 hours a week on caring activities, whilst men spend only 9 hours.

In the U.K., 73% of those who receive Carers’ Allowance (giving care more than 35 hours a week) are women. 38% of carers are caring for over 100 hours a week.

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Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece writes: 117 years is too long to wait for gender parity

This week we marked International Women’s Day, the theme of which was ‘Pledge for Parity,’ borne of the latest prediction from the World Economic Forum that we won’t achieve global gender parity until 2133. This date is further in the future than the previous prediction, reflecting the fact that progress internationally, is slowing down, not speeding up. We must take action to tackle it, here and abroad.

Although we have made great strides here in the UK, there is still much to do. The gender pay gap is still real; women make up just 29% of House of Commons, we have too few women in leadership roles in the civil service, business, as newspapers editors and in the diplomatic service.

Violence against women domestically and globally is still endemic. I’m a member of the Select Committee on Sexual Violence in Conflict, where we’ve heard some appalling evidence of how in some countries women’s lower status contributes to the violence they face. While there are so few women in positions of power internationally, violence continues to be widely used as a tool to keep women in their place.

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One Liberal Democrat man’s view of International Woman’s Day

Austin Rathe, formerly Head of Membership at LDHQ, posted this as his Facebook status on Tuesday, International Women’s Day. I thought it was worth reposting here, with his permission of course. .

So, guys, I’ve seen a couple of you post today asking why there isn’t an International Men’s Day*.

OK, I get it, it’s supposed to be about equality right? So why do we have something for women we don’t have for men?

I’ll explain why, but before we begin I’d like you to stop, look up from your desk (or other place of work) towards a female college. Don’t stare, but just imagine for a few moments that you’re not you, you’re that woman who you know, probably respect and hopefully care about.

Ok. So let’s go.

Now you’re a woman, your pay just got cut by 24%. Put that into pounds and pence and think how pissed off you are. You should be, it’s outrageous that because you just switched gender you’re getting paid less, but that’s what happens. And it adds up. Over your life as a woman you’re going to earn on average £300,000 less than you would have done as a man. Now we’re all proud of our penises, but I don’t think any of us would claim that it makes us 24% more productive at work. If yours does, please post tips in the comments.

Let’s head outside for a bit to calm down. Maybe a bit of shopping over lunch? Well, get ready for the double whammy, because not only do you have a lot less cash now, but you have to pay more for the same stuff. That’s right, on average the female versions of products (for example clothes) cost 7% more than the male ones. And of course, from now, your going to have to buy sanitary products once a month whether you like or not. And they’re a luxury, so you pay VAT on them as well. Lucky you.

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WATCH: Why we are #INtogether this International Women’s Day

Liberal Democrat women explain why women are better off in the EU

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Opinion: We must not be complacent!

internationalwomensday

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. We have a lot be proud of, but there is still a long way to go.

On Friday I spoke at a hustings organised by Youth Parliament. Afterwards, I had several young women come up, inspired and engaged with what I had to say. It was brilliant to see them keen on becoming politically active.

But as I left I was approached by two teenage lads, well-spoken, but of a completely different mindset. They asked me why women should be encouraged into politics because “it is a career which suits men.” I was aghast. I could not believe that attitude could exist among young people today. I am prepared for sexism from older generations, but my generation and those younger than me surely have been brought up in a world where men and women are equal?

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Who’s the woman who has inspired you most?

Caron and ShirleyIt’s International Women’s Day today and on Twitter, there’s been an #inspiredby meme on Twitter where we have to say which women have inspired us.

I went a bit mad, as you can see from my Twitter feed. I’ve been lucky enough to know so many fabulous women in politics from all parties that if I started writing about them now, I’d still be here this time next week. And that would just be politics. So I’m going to limit myself to just two.

The first is someone who was my first political hero, ever since she made that speech at that first SDP conference where she talked about being required to scale unscaleable heights as she announced her candidacy for the Crosby by-election. She’s done so much to advance and advocate women’s rights internationally. She was a minister in a world where it was ok for interviewers like Robin Day to compliment female MPs on their outfits and say how pretty they looked. She was brave enough to recognise that she and the Labour Party had come to the end of the road and to branch out in a new direction when the SDP was formed. Her energy even now, at the age of 84, is incredible. It was fantastic to have her come to Scotland for the best part of the last 10 days of the referendum campaign last year. She was filling halls and winning debates right up till the last minute. I found it quite emotional to see a Yes campaigner come up to her on Dunfermline High Street and say that she’d been her hero all her life too. I’m talking of course about Shirley Williams. She’s had such a fascinating life. It must have been so hard to have been uprooted and sent to strangers across the Atlantic during the War, thousands of miles from her parents but she threw herself into that experience. As she grew up she met some of the most progressive thinkers of her day.

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Willie Rennie’s message for International Women’s Day

Willie Rennie doesn’t have a fancy video, but he this is his message for International Women’s Day.

Liberals across the world are driven by an ambition to see a fairer, more equal society. The bedrock of which must be equality of opportunity.

I’m proud that Liberal Democrats have used the responsibility of Government to drive our ambition of equality even further forward. Shared parental leave, free childcare and flexible working are all measures taken forward by Liberal Democrats which will enable more women to have the equality of opportunity they need to get on in life.

But we still have much more we need to do. That is why Liberal Democrats have led efforts to end FGM, where millions of women are still at risk across the world. We want to end FGM within a generation.

We can be proud that in Holyrood, the leadership of our political parties better reflect our society. But I take a personal responsibility in ensuring my party does all that it can to remove the barriers which prevent women from representing their peers in parliament. I hope that this is a personal responsibility of all leaders, be they party leaders or business leaders.

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Nick Clegg’s message for International Women’s Day

Here is Nick Clegg’s message for International Women’s Day. The text is underneath.

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes – Scotland better off in Union

Every week, Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore writes a column for local newspapers in his constituency. These are the highlights of the last two editions. 

Afghanistan

 The loss of six young soldiers in Afghanistan last week shocked and saddened the whole country and was a grave reminder of the huge sacrifice made by our armed forces in one of the most dangerous places in the world. The work of our men and women in Afghanistan is absolutely vital for the security of the UK and the freedom of the Afghan people and the deaths of these young men remind us …

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Lynne Featherstone MP writes: How the Liberal Democrats are delivering for women

As we celebrate International Women’s Day tomorrow, I’m proud to represent Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government. I know that our involvement has made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of women in a range of ways.

We’ve got lots to shout about, so please spread the word: blog and tweet about it and forward this to your friends.

Here’s how we’re delivering for women –

  • When it comes to shielding women in need from the brunt of the economic squeeze, our policy to free the lowest paid from income tax has played a key role in protecting women. Women make

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The weekend debate: Who are the five most influential women of all time?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Borrowing from Lynne Featherstone’s blog:

It’s International Women’s Day on Thursday – and my local paper, The Journal,  have asked me to name my top 5 influential women of all time.

I know who mine are but who would be yours?

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