Tag Archives: Liberal Democrat Women

Working towards a Decade for Women – Come and be part of it!

‘Ce n’est pas la conscience des hommes qui détermine leur être; c’est inversement leur être social qui détermine leur conscience’. Marx

Roughly translated: ‘you are who you are because of your life experience, not the other way round’.

It may seem strange to begin an article on LDW’s elections with a quotation from Marx, but it is apt and points to why LDW exists within the party. LDW next year anticipates launching its ‘Decade for Women’. A decade that will seek to change how women in decision making are perceived, vastly increase the number of the party’s women MPs, Council leaders and …

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Opinion: “Victim-blaming” 101: why sexual assault is different to other crimes

Sussex Police has produced a campaign poster encouraging women to stick together on a night out to reduce their chances of sexual assault. There are so many ways this poster is stupid: it perpetuates the myth of stranger rape as the only “real rape” (an idea which helps acquaintance rapists get away with it over and over again), it ignores male victims of rape, and it suggests women should fear sexual assault more than they value their sexual liberty.

But there’s only one issue I want to address now. On Monday, Caron Lindsay called the poster “victim-blaming”: she was right, and it’s worth explaining why victim-blaming is so much more harmful in cases of sexual assault than other forms of crime.

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Why are police forces getting away with misogynistic, victim-blaming rape prevention campaigns?

I was horrified to hear this afternoon that Sussex Police are launching a campaign to encourage women to stay together to avoid the possibility of rape and sexual assault. This is what they tweeted last week:

So, now your friends come above the perpetrator of any crime when there’s blame to be handed out.

Looking a bit further afield, I found the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Be Smart campaign, which is even worse. Three quarters of the page is taken up with advice for women like:

Would you go alone into a stranger’s house at 11am in the morning? No? So why do it at 2am drunk? Arrange to meet new acquaintances when sober.

It’s the sort of victim blaming nonsense that is counter-productive. Going to someone’s house is not a crime. Raping somebody is against the law. If you had been raped, how likely would you be to report what had happened to you if you thought you might be judged and blamed for the crime that you had been subjected to? I thought we’d moved on from that. To add insult to injury, as an afterthought, there’s an “And for guys” bit at the bottom of the page, reminding them that “rape convictions last forever.” The effects of being rape are pretty much a life sentence, too, you know.

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The Gender Agenda #3: Is there such a thing as “Women’s Policy”?

LDW stallI was long-winded last time so let’s try brevity: yes, and no.

When people talk about ‘women’s policy’ they usually mean one of three things:

1. Policies which only affect women directly: men (apart from trans men) do not, for example, suffer FGM or need access to abortion, so they will only ever be indirectly affected by policy on those issues.

2. Policies were your gender directly determines your rights and treatment in society: that includes gender separation in schools or prisons, or access to parental leave.

3.  Policies aimed at everyone, but that …

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Opinion: The Gender Agenda: What Liberal Democrat Women can do for women candidates

Campaigning on the doorstep - Lynne FeatherstoneOn May 22nd I’m fighting my first local election as a candidate. I’ve been stuffing envelopes and knocking on doors for other people for 8 years, but with a seat on Islington Council in the balance, this time it seems a little more real.

But I’m lucky. I’m fighting – and fighting hard – alongside a councillor with 8 years experience, and an experienced campaigner who’s already fought a by-election. The ward has two Lib Dem councillors out of three, and if we all get elected, …

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Opinion: The week after the Morrissey Report – what will you do?

Last week Helena Morrissey published the results of her inquiry into how the Liberal Democrats handled allegations of sexual harassment. In our 24 hour news cycle, this may already seem like old news. But it is vital for the future of women in politics that do not allow the report and its conclusions to be forgotten. The change cannot only be top down – it must also be a grassroots movement.

The Lib Dems are not the first institution to be found to have mishandled allegations of sexual harassment. It is particularly galling for party members though, as the picture …

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Liberal Democrat Women reacts to Morrissey report

The three acting c0-chairs of Liberal Democrat Women, Dinti Batstone, Tam Langley and Miranda Whitehead have issued a statement on behalf of the organisation giving their reaction to Helena Morrissey’s report on processes and culture within the Liberal Democrats.

We welcome today’s report by Helena Morrissey following her independent inquiry into the processes and culture of our party, and support in full the recommendations she makes for change.

The inquiry was prompted by the sexual harassment allegations against Lord Rennard, although it does not consider the truth or otherwise of the allegations, but rather how they were handled. Morrissey observes that, ‘Overall

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Opinion: Gender quotas are the sensible way forward

laura-willoughby-encurages-women-to-become-council-candidates‘In every aspect of life in which women are undervalued, under-represented or exploited we are dedicated to achieving equality.’ (from the Preamble of the Constitution of Liberal Democrat Women)

John Stuart Mill would have been outraged that, in the second decade of the 21st century, women are still under-valued, exploited and under-represented, for it was he, speaking in the House of Commons in May 1867, who advocated votes for women.

Yet, here we are 150 years later, still trying to have equality in our society. Yes, we have women’s suffrage, but at the present rate of change, we will not have a gender balanced Parliament until 2050.

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Have YOU joined Liberal Democrat Women?

Liberal Democrat Women will formally come into being on 8 June, the culmination of 18 months’ work bringing together the party’s existing women’s organisations: Campaign for Gender Balance and Women Liberal Democrats. In launching Liberal Democrat Women we want to create a more powerful platform for all Liberal Democrats – male and female – who want to see gender equality in Westminster and beyond.

Liberal Democrat Women will focus on 4 core areas of activity: policy, campaigns, women’s representation and networking. It will do everything its predecessor organisations did, and hopefully much more.

To realise this bold ambition we need YOUR help. We need new talent for the first Liberal Democrat Women Executive, which will …

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