Tag Archives: international women’s day 2019

Jo Swinson’s challenge for International Women’s Day

It wouldn’t be Jo if she wasn’t giving us a job to do.

My pledge will be to comfort and encourage others and give them sustenance on their journeys to their dreams.

What will you do to help achieve gender equality?

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Caroline Pidgeon calls for blue plaque for Ealing’s Olympic tennis player Charlotte Cooper

Ealing had a women’s Olympic tennis champion, but I’d never heard of her until earlier this week.

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member has linked up with Southfield Councillor Gary Malcolm to support a Blue Plaque being installed to remember  Charlotte Cooper.

The tennis player, who was born in Ealing was the first ever woman to win an Olympic title, when women were admitted into the Games in Paris in 1900. She became the first woman in history to win a First Place Prize in tennis (medals were not given out until 1904).

Charlotte Cooper was five times Wimbledon singles champion, she also won the mixed doubles event, as well as the Swiss, German and Irish titles which were prestigious championships at the time.  Yet despite her numerous achievements there is no Blue Plaque to commemorate her life and her association with Ealing.

Caroline Pidgeon AM and Councillor Gary Malcolm’s nomination of Charlotte Cooper is part of a wider campaign by the London Assembly to ensure more women are recognised by Blue Plaques.

Caroline said:

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Meral Ece: Muslim women need our support to reach their empowerment

In yesterday’s Lords International Women’s Day debate, our Meral Hussein Ece looked at the barriers facing Muslim women, particularly in a climate when senior politicians make ignorant comments.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for introducing this important debate and pay tribute to the Government’s work in advancing women’s equality and rights globally, building on the work of successive Governments and the incredible work that has taken place around the world. It is a pleasure to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Gale, and I pay tribute to all the work she has done as well.

I come to this as somebody who has been involved in gender equality and working with women, particularly women from ethnic minority communities, for many decades. I founded the first domestic violence project ​for Turkish, Kurdish and Middle Eastern women 25 years ago, and I am proud that it is still going from strength to strength. Many of the women who initially came there for support have gone on to become empowered women, much more in control of their lives, and to help other women. That has been something that has followed down the track and been successful.

My contribution today is on the public discourse on black and minority ethnic women, particularly Muslim women. I want to touch on this because I have become increasingly concerned that narratives and stereotypes persist that Muslim women are either victims—subjugated, oppressed, controlled by their families and unable to speak English—or, at the same time, blamed for bringing up children who become radicalised. My contribution may not be popular but it needs to be said, because I have become increasingly uncomfortable. I have been at various events this week with other women from Muslim backgrounds—younger, empowered and educated women—who are fed up with this narrative that persists.

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Highlighting the “invisible” work women do

One of the features of International Women’s Day over the past few years has been Scottish feminist organisation Engender’s Make Work Visible campaign to highlight the work that women do that really makes the world work but that isn’t recognised.

Not only do women work at their jobs, they often have another full shift to do at home looking after children, or parents, doing the housework, organising stuff. Actually, quite often they do the emotional labour in their offices too, keeping the peace, remembering birthdays, supporting colleagues under stress, organising social events, that sort of thing.

This video from 2014 explains it some more.

Here are some of the highlights so far:

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Wera Hobhouse: We must not hold women back

Wera Hobhouse was the Lib Dem speaker in the Commons International Women Day debate yesterday. She concentrated on the discrimination women face in the workplace and the harm it does them and the organisations they work for:

It is an honour to be the penultimate Back-Bench speaker in this debate. We have heard many powerful contributions, including those dealing with discrimination leading to violence against women. I have experienced great solidarity on the issue of fighting discrimination in the past year and a half since I became a Member of Parliament, and if that solidarity continues, I really believe that we can make progress, particularly on the very dark side of discrimination.

Today I want to focus on something slightly closer to home—namely, my own experience as I was growing up. As I grew up in the 1970s, I looked forward to a future of exciting possibilities. The world was my oyster. I could follow my passions, study, develop my skills, build my career and have a family. It never occurred to me that my career options could be limited because I was a woman, that I would not automatically attain the same level of responsibility, pay and influence that my male counterparts would, that I might have to sacrifice my career aspirations when we started a family because I earned less than my husband, that there was an automatic assumption that I would take on the lion’s share of looking after our young children, or that in 2019 I would still have to speak out in this House against the ongoing discrimination and undervaluing of women in the UK. But here I am, and because I have a voice in Parliament, I am using it today to remind ​everybody that we must continue our efforts to fight discrimination—particularly its darker side—and to create a true gender balance in every sector of our society.

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It’s International Women’s Day, but 1/365 isn’t enough

Today, it’s International Women’s Day when everyone remembers that women exist and face daily discrimination. And just to pre-empt the first half dozen comments, yes, there is an International Men’s Day. It’s on November 19th. This is the day to follow Richard Herring’s very funny responses to those who ask that question on Twitter. And if you like what he does, consider making a donation to his Crowdfunder to raise money for Refuge. 

Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Conservative Government do more to improve the lives of women and girls across the UK and address the gendered inequalities that persist throughout society.

Lib Dem women MPs have been busy this week. Christine Jardine’s attempts to outlaw the “Pink Tax”, the gender price gap faced by women, Layla Moran’s bid for gender neutral school uniforms and Wera Hobhouse’s bill to ensure mental health postnatal checks hit the headlines. For heaven’s sake, Christine even made it into Vogue! 


In a joint statement Liberal Democrat MPs Christine Jardine, Jo Swinson, Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse said:

It is frustrating and unacceptable that in the UK in 2019, women and girls continue to face so many everyday barriers.

The Conservative Government have passed the role of Minister for Women and Equalities around like a hot potato, whilst many of the issues that still disproportionately impact women and girls are failing to be addressed.

Liberal Democrats demand better for women and girls. Last year Liberal Democrats introduced legislation to make upskirting a specific offence and now it’s illegal. For International Women’s Day 2019 we’re fighting to improve the lives of women and girls in other ways: by banning the pink tax so that women do not pay more for the same products, introducing gender neutral school uniforms, and improving mental health care for postnatal women.

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