Tag Archives: lib dem women

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:

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Millicent Fawcett, a woman who changed the lives of many. You can, too

Very shortly, towards the end of April, a statue to Millicent Fawcett will be unveiled in Westminster. She was a tireless campaigner for women’s suffrage and equal treatment.

Women still lag behind men both in selection processes and in electoral opportunity. Too few women are selected; too few women are elected. Fawcett would understand how far we still have to go and how much is still to be done.

Local elections can be a good place to make change happen. The opportunity is there for us and in Cheltenham, for example, Liberal Democrats are taking the need for more women candidates, and for more women candidates to be elected, very seriously.

District elections are being held for some 20 wards and things are a little different this year. Almost 50% of Cheltenham’s candidates are women. Six have never been elected before, though that will change as it is anticipated many of those selected, will be elected.

It is great to see young, enthusiastic candidates – both men and women – working together and observe the growing confidence that brings. It is inspiring to see.

Liberal Democrat Women wants to see many more women from across the country elected this year and is organising Action Days to help make that happen. They are an opportunity not just to get women elected, but to learn how our campaign teams work and pick up skills from them. Action Days are a two-way process.

Sutton 14th April; Cheltenham 21st April;  Chiswick 28th April; London, date to be confirmed, are the first to be set up. If you want to help please contact:

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