2013: Labour Party Women’s Conference

In September 2013 ASLEF sent its first elected delegation to the Labour Party Women’s Conference.

Lee James, Equalities Advisor, reported for the ASLEF Journal:

For the last three years, on the eve of its annual conference, the Labour Party has held a meeting for female members to discuss issues specific to them. Year on year, the number of women attending has grown and last month 1,000 delegates came together at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, making it the biggest political gathering of women at a party conference, ever.

It’s not surprising that women are becoming more politically engaged, given that they are being hit hardest by the Conservative-led coalition’s austerity measures and the economic downturn in this country. 

The ASLEF delegation consisted of Nicky Sapey, WRC member for District 4, Wendy Hurst, WRC member for District 5, and me. We were joined by Collette Gibson, WRC member for District 7, attending for her CLP.

Ed Miliband had that day launched the Labour policy on child care which would see access to affordable child care being given to all, via schools, from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. In his presence, during an open mic session, Wendy, to much applause, told conference that, as a train driver, she welcomed the policy but asked what would be done to address the needs of shift workers who need child care outside these hours? Ed obviously listened as he name checked her in his address to the women’s conference but – typical politician – he avoided answering the question!

The day was a mixture of set piece speeches, policy seminars, and open mic sessions, with a strong focus on engaging with those who attended. Labour seems keen to get women on board and increase the number of female MPs. They are already ahead of the Conservatives who have more millionaires than women in their cabinet!

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