Fawcett debate on women in UK election – finally we get top billing!
I just got back from the Fawcett Society pre-election debate on women and the UK election (I was there in offical job capacity but the views that follow are my own), where Harriet Harman from Labour, Lynne Featherstone from the Lib Dems and Theresa May from the Conservatives took on issues ranging from equal pay to maternity (and paternity) rights, to ending violence against women, to the political representation of women, to what they would ask the Pope on his UK visit regarding women’s rights.
It was immensely gratifying to have such questions top of the agenda and to have key questions on jobs and the economy filtered through a women’s lens instead of such issues being tacked on as afterthoughts, as they have been all too often in the UK’s general election campaign – if, that is, they are mentioned at all.
Most importantly of all, I came away feeling genuinely inspired (even if I didn’t always feel in favour of the policies I heard) and genuinely catered to. The parties currently embroiled in what is now a three-man race to grab power and the media that has covered the campaigns have largely ignored women’s issues, frankly, and all the Holby City mums and Worcester women references do not help in efforts to build sustainable and committed policies to aid women in efforts to improve their lives and those of their families.
Other than in depressing reference to the outfits of the leaders’ wives, we have yet to see the women of all parties placed front and centre on the campaign trail, so it was gratifying to see a robust debate on core electoral issues both by us, for us, and about us. Developing and nurturing that inspiration is so important not just for us but for future generations of women who want to enter public life. So, let’s keep up the pressure, eh?