Now we have received responses to our letter from all of the candidates to be Labour leader, we have published the following statement in response:
Labour Leader candidates divided over ‘invisible women’ campaign
All five candidates to be Labour Party leader have now responded to a call to action from grassroots women members to ensure Labour is the Party that leads for women. Their responses expose significant differences about how far they would go to make Labour more representative.
At a Labour Party members’ event this weekend in Leeds, all five candidates will be quizzed by women members on how they will ensure women are never again ‘invisible’ in the Labour Party.
All the candidates have now publicly set out their plans for opening up Labour’s structures to women, after a group of over 200 women in the Party wrote to the candidates. They called on them to outline in detail their plans to tear down the barriers that put off many women from being involved in the Party, and ensure that women are equally and meaningfully represented at all levels, and are never again ‘invisible’ as media spokespeople or internal decision makers.
Rachael Saunders, former Labour Party National Women’s Officer and Lead for Women activist, said:
“We’re proud of Labour’s record on equality, and on getting more women into Parliament, but we still haven’t done enough.
“We were dismayed by the low profile of our talented women politicians at the General Election, and concerned that there are still far too many barriers stopping women getting involved – whether in national politics or in their local Party. We must stop wasting the talent of women who get put off or put down in public life.
“We celebrate the commitment of every candidate to achieving change, and we welcome a real debate about how to tear down the barriers and set us on a clear path to equality – but those debates have to be followed by meaningful action.
“One of the clearest signs that we as a Party are serious about change would be a 50:50 gender balance in the Shadow Cabinet, and tough action to ensure equal representation of women and men in our Parliamentary Party. If we can’t change the faces at the top table, then we’ll never achieve the true culture change that is needed for us to win again.”
At Labour’s women’s day in Leeds on Sunday, the candidates will be challenged by women members of the Party on their plans. They will be quizzed on their commitment to women’s representation in the Shadow Cabinet and asked to take responsibilility for changing the culture in the Labour Party and in politics that means many women are put off politics before they even contemplate standing for election.
After the leadership election, Lead for Women will continue to hold the new leader to account on their promises – whoever they are.
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