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Archive for the ‘Labour Party Reform’ Category

During last summer’s Party leadership election, we wrote to all the candidates asking them to set out their vision for how they would reform our Party to ensure we have equal and meaningful representation of women at every level – from branch meetings to the Shadow Cabinet table. You can read our letter here.

We were delighted that all the candidates took the time to reply to our letter, and we strongly welcomed the reply we received from Ed Miliband, our new Party Leader. You can read his response here.

Since last summer, we have seen Ed and Labour’s leadership team start to put that vision into practice – we might not yet have 50:50 representation in the Shadow Cabinet, but 42% shows that we are on the right path.

Lead for Women will keep campaigning until we reach the goals we set out last summer.

That’s why we need your help today. We want to work with the Labour Party Leadership team to help them put the pledges Ed made to Lead for Women into practice. And we want to make sure that Peter Hain’s review of Party Structures addresses the need to change our Party to make sure we live up to the promise of being the ‘Party of Equality’.

You can help us by emailing us about your experiences as a woman in the Labour Party.

What positive experiences have you had as a woman in the Party? Can you tell us about any examples of how practice or procedures changed to make it easier to be involved in the Party as a woman?

Have you ever been put off getting involved in the Party, standing for election in your Branch, CLP or for Public Office because of the culture of the Party, Party structures, or the way we do our politics?

What would you like to see change about Party culture, structures or procedures?

We want to hear all your experiences – positive, negative, big or small. We need to learn from the Party’s mistakes, and spread the word about good new ways of working.

We’ll use them to help make the case for why and how our Party needs to change.

Please email us at lead4women@yahoo.co.uk. We want to base our submission to the Party on your experiences – but we won’t be using any names, so don’t worry – it will be kept completely anonymous.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Happy International Women’s Day!

The Lead for Women Team

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Lead for Women have written an open letter to Labour’s NEC, calling for them to take action now to ensure we have an equal number of women and men in the PLP after the next election. Labour has always led the way on equality, but with fewer than a third of our MPs women, it is clear that we need to go further, faster.

We want to let Labour’s NEC know that there is real support for them taking strong action to ensure we have women candidates in the seats where it matters. Please email us on lead4women@yahoo.co.uk to add your name, and let us know your CLP or affiliate.

FAO: Labour Party National Executive Committee members

During the leadership election, all the candidates said they want to see gender balance in the PLP. We are delighted that Ed Miliband has reiterated his support for All Women Shortlists as an important and necessary means of ensuring that this happens.

We are pleased to see the NEC is conducting a consultation on selections, and we are calling on them to take action now to ensure that at the next general election we do have an equal balance of women and men amongst Labour’s parliamentarians.

If the LibDem coalition’s gerrymandering bill goes through and the number of constituencies is reduced, then it is very likely that far fewer seats are up for selection later in this Parliament, including fewer Labour-held seats vacated by retiring MPs.

Currently, there are 253 Labour MPs, and just 81 of these are women. If we are to achieve gender balance, then we need to see many more women selected – not just in target seats, but also crucially in Labour-held seats if the MP stands down. All Women Shortlists in 50% of target seats sounds equitable on paper, but in practice it will come nowhere near achieving gender balance in the PLP after the next election,

Therefore, we are calling on the NEC to take action in selections to put our shared commitment to a representative PLP into action, including:

• applying All Women Shortlists in more than 50% of winnable seats being selected early;

• developing a policy for selections after the boundary changes (including in merged seats where there are already Labour MPs) that ensures achieving gender balance is a real priority;

• look at selection methods in all seats to ensure they are open and accessible to all (including longer time scales for application, competency-based tasks etc) as “open-shortlist” should not, in effect, mean “male candidate”.

Yours,

Lead for Women

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Ed Miliband’s letter to Lead for Women got a bit of a mention in Julie Bindel’s article in G2 in the Guardian on Friday. We didn’t agree with her assessment of Ed’s leadership, and we sent the following letter to the Guardian to let them know that we think Ed has made a promising start in fulfilling his promises made to women in the Party during the Leadership election.

Sir,

We welcome Julie Bindel to the Labour Party. However, her description of Ed Miliband as “sexism lite” is inaccurate. Ed Miliband has made greater commitments to women’s equality than any Labour leader before him, both in his letter to Lead for Women during the leadership election and in his speeches since, including a firm defence of all women shortlists in his first leader’s speech at party conference. Lead for Women will work with Ed to made real his commitments to women’s organisation and representation in the Labour Party. If Julie Bindel wants to make her views heard she is welcome to get involved.

Lead for Women

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Following Ed Miliband’s comments in the Guardian today, in which he announced a process of reforming Labour’s structures and policy-making mechanisms, Lead for Women have released the following statement:

Ed Miliband should be congratulated for his comments to this paper on the need to reshape Labour’s policies and practices. As grassroots women Labour activists, we called upon all our leadership candidates to end the marginalised role of female voices in our Party, and welcomed Ed Miliband’s commitment to do as our campaign urged and “Lead for Women”. Speaking of his desire to renew the Party, Ed pledged he would ensure that “women’s diverse voices are just as central to that process as men’s”. When too few women are selected, too few women shape our messages, and too few women’s votes are won, the time for reform is now. We encourage Ed to embrace this timely opportunity to follow through on his promise.

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The Lead for Women team have spent the last couple of days running around Labour Party Conference with a big letter… A very big letter. Over a thousand Labour women here in Manchester for Labour have signed the letter, congratulating Ed on his election, and calling on him to lead for women. This evening, at the Women’s Reception, we presented Ed with the letter.

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