International Women's Day 2019
11 March 2019
Last week, I was at a fundraising dinner in Huthwaite to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Prospective parliamentary candidates, Sonya Ward (for Mansfield), Chris Peace (for North East Derbyshire) and our own Catherine Atkinson (for Erewash), along with Gloria De Piero MP, spoke passionately about the need for us women to encourage more women to get involved in politics.
Not only to become politically active, but even to vote, highlighting the fact we still have some areas where the woman in the household doesn’t vote or has to ‘check with the husband’ on how she votes. I often come across this response when I am out canvassing in Erewash.
We are a far way from parity in politics generally, there are still way more male MPs than female. Although Labour has and continues to make great strides towards balancing this out via all women shortlists, meaning only women can be considered for selection.
But on the doors it is still often more men who are out there canvassing, and what message does that continue to give to women? That politics is a man’s business!
Austerity is affecting women more than men. In fact up until the 2017 autumn budget, 86% of the reduction in public spending which the government has made through changes to taxes and benefits is from spending which previously went to women. Austerity is of course affecting everyone, and this 86% figure doesn’t take in to account the men indirectly affected by these cuts, but 86% of these cuts ARE certainly affecting women.
So as a woman interested in empowering other women, you may be wondering how you can help to give more women a voice?
Here’s how: talk to other women, your friends and family.
If you don’t yet feel comfortable ‘talking politics’, get in contact with me, and we can have a coffee and a chat about it. You’ll soon feel confident to talk politics – it’s about people.
If you’re uncomfortable talking to women you don’t know during a canvassing session, just coming out to support us and having a female presence by holding the leaflets, or making note of the data we collect at the door would be a huge support. It would show more female residents that politics is for us women too.
If you could find time, particularly before the local elections on 2nd May, to support our council candidates, you have no idea how much that might inspire female residents to start thinking politics is for us too.
If you’d be happy to support, please do let me know.
Canvassing really is fun, and I would happily take anyone by the hand to prove it.
Blog post published by Samantha Niblett, in her capacity as Erewash Labour constituency women’s officer.
All opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author, and are not official Labour Party policy.