March Meeting: Dreams of a 50:50 Parliament.

With the huge balls of politics beginning to gather momentum in the lead up to the election on 7 May we had a couple of wonderful and terribly relevant speakers for March’s meeting. Francis Scott from the 50:50 campaign came to speak about women’s representation in parliament and Councillor Racheal Saunders who is leader of the Labour Group in Mile End came to discuss the political process and the importance of voting.

SSWI show support for the 50:50 Parliament Campaign

Francis Scott kicked us off with a fantastic discussion on her 50:50 Parliament campaign which is trying to raise awareness that only 23% of MPs are women and that we need fairer representation in parliament. The campaign isn’t about proscribing one specific way of achieving the goal of fairer representation and is instead calling for more debate on the matter. However Francis took us through the possible options to increase female representation which included; gender quotas, all women shortlists or two seat constituencies where one seat is for a man and one seat is for a woman (an idea put forward by Tony Benn in the past). Francis gave us the fairly horrifying statistic that if we continue at the same rate we will only attain gender equality in the year 2115, I can’t wait that long guys. If cryogenics doesn’t work then I probably won’t even be a head in a jar by then! So if you think we need a fairer representation of women in politics now and want to debate how we go about doing just that then sign the petition here. You can also follow the campaign on twitter and Facebook.

The leader of the Labour Group in Mile End, Racheal Saunders then lead a conversation on the importance of voting and taking an active part in politics. Racheal spoke about getting in to politics as a women and highlighted the fact that two thirds of people who sign up to join the Labour Party are men. This is down to a whole raft of factors including inherent gender bias in politics generally and the socialisation of women, which means they put themselves forward less than men for senior roles. Rachael also spoke about the necessity for everyone to get involved in politics, explaining that politicians work for the voters and if you aren’t voting then they are less likely to drive forward change that benefits you. This means if you want to see change then you should make sure you’re registered to vote here – you’ve only got until the 20 April.

It was a fantastic meeting and thank you so much to Francis and Racheal for coming to talk to us!