If you’re female and a member of the Labour Party, you are a member of your local Women’s Forum.
The Women’s Forum is here to:
- support women’s involvement in the local party: from discussing and campaigning on the issues that concern them, to encouraging them to run for elected office;
- To build links with women in the community, through contact with community organisations and individual women, consultation, campaigning and working together;
- encourage women to join the Party and to help all women feel at home in it
- ensure that women’s voices are heard in the Party, and represent women’s interests and concerns on the Executive Committee.
How we do it:
- meeting informally in small groups to discuss issues important to us
- organise events to raise the profile of concerns such as sexism and misogyny, and how policies affect women so we can address any problems
- run workshops to enable women to participate in the local party with confidence
- support women candidates running for office.
We believe that political activities like these can be mutually supportive and enjoyable, and we also hold events where we can share our skills and enthusiasm.
Why women, why now?
As Everyday Sexism, #MeToo, and The Gender Pay Gap all remind us, there is a long way to go before we achieve equality between men and women, especially Black and Asian women, and women with disabilities. Women remain a minority in representative government, although, the Labour Party outperforms Tories and LibDems with 45% of its MPs, and 42% of councillors in England as women. However, only 17% of council leaders are women and in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authority there are no female board members at all.
(Photo: From left: Carla McQueen, Susan Buckingham, Nicky Massey, Gerri Bird, Jo Lucas on the anniversary of the vote for some women over 30)
The Women’s Forum elected members to take responsibility for different areas of work, and the women who undertook to do this for a year until January 2019.
Chair (This is the Women's Officer, ex officio): Susan Buckingham
Vice Chairs: Carla McQueen and Nicky Massey
Secretary: Jo Lucas
Treasurer: Jenny Latch
Social Media: Carla McQueen
Membership/publicity: May Shafi
Liaison with local groups: Judith Green
TUC Liaison: Ann Galpin
Events: To be filled
Liaison with other groups:
BAME: May Shafi; Disability;Gerri Bird; Youth: Caitlin de Jonge
LGBT To be filled
The Women’s Forum can send two delegates to the Cambridge Labour Party (CLP) General Committee, which meets once a month to receive reports from the MP and Labour group council leads, to raise and debate motions and to elect local officers (such as the Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Women’s Officer).
Delegates are elected annually at the time of the CLP AGM (currently July), and the WF is entitled to two delegates. This means that the WF can propose motions and raise issues at GC on matters which we think are important. The WF delegates each have a vote on GC appointments and motions (along with ward delegates).
Current delegates to the general committee are:
If you would be interested in becoming a delegate in the future, or to be active in the Women’s Forum, it would be great to hear from you.
The Women’s Officer: Susan Buckingham email@example.com
For further information on the Cambridge Labour Party Women’s Forum, please check out our twitter and Facebook sites.
Labour Women’s Network http://www.lwn.org.uk/
International Women’s Day meets 100 years of the vote for women (over 30): Women Voter Registration Drive – Outside the Guildhall, Cambridge, Thursday March 8th 1.30-3.30pm
Women for Women Candidates – Saturday March 10th, Alex Wood Hall, Norfolk Street, Cambridge 10.30-12.30, followed by lunch and canvassing.
Encouragement for women who have not canvassed or campaigned before to work alongside experienced women canvassers/campaigners to support women candidates to win in the May City Council Elections
Future plans include sessions with women councillors, and sessions focusing on building confidence to participate effectively in the party and beyond. We hope that this will encourage women to think about standing as City and County councillors in 2019 and onwards. We’ll be running sessions for anyone thinking of this, as well
A Summer Fundraiser to generate donations which will be used to support low income women Labour members to participate in the annual conference, and to run workshops and events in disadvantaged wards. Further details to be announced on twitter and facebook.
Social and Networking Events
Keep an eye on our social media sites for details of events such as social and networking events, training and fundraisers.
Socialist Feminist Study Group
A group of women meet monthly to discuss ideas from books, films and videos. The books/films that have inspired us so far are:
Mary Beard – Women and Power https://profilebooks.com/women-and-power.html
Caroline Lucas – Honorable Friends. Parliament and the Fight for Change http://portobellobooks.com/honourable-friends-2
Jacqueline Walker – Pilgrim State https://www.hodder.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9781444731811
Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS2nkr9q0VU
Gail Dines: Growing up in a pornified culture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YpHNImNsx8
Jackson Katz Violence against women—it's a men's issue: Jackson Katz at TEDxFiDiWomen https://youtu.be/KTvSfeCRxe8
If you would like to join the group (which is currently based in Trumpington/Romsey/Chesterton), or would like to set up a group in your local area, get in touch.
(Pac-a-Mac Woman - energised by a combination of household bleach and dramatic weather – saves the world. Cambridge WF Fundraiser December 2017)
The Women’s Forum held its inaugural meeting in January 2018, in which fifty women members of the Labour Party participated, with a further forty indicating interest in future meetings. The next Forum meeting is on Saturday March 10th from 10.30-12.30. It will focus on future events and campaigning and will be followed by an afternoon of canvassing with women candidates standing for the City Council.
We anticipate two formal meetings a year, but with plenty of activity in between as the pages on Future Events indicates.
Events organised prior to the setting up of the Women’s Forum included a Winter Fundraiser in Ross Street Community Centre with music, a one-woman play ‘Pac-a-Mac Woman’, stalls selling clothes, books, and household goods, a feminist quiz and taster workshops on ‘finding your voice’ and on ‘being assertive’.
A workshop on ‘Challenging porn culture and its normalisation of violence against women’ was held in October 2017, and some of the participants are taking issues the discussion raised (such has how violence against women needs to be taken up by men, and how pornography is damaging to young men) to their local branches.