Oxford Labour Women was set up in 2010 with an aim to encourage more women to become active and stand for office, identify and campaign on issues relating to women, including the disproportionate impact on women of the coalition government's cuts and to develop a supportive and inclusive women’s network regardless of politics.
In 2013 the gender balance is:
Oxford City Council Labour group currently has 10 women councillor out of 29 (34%)
Oxford County Council Labour group currently has 4 women councillors out of 9 (44%)
Since 2010 Oxford Labour Women have:
•Supported new women who were elected to Oxford City Council in 2012 and are supporting new women candidates for this May's Oxfordshire County Council elections.
•Organised training for prospective women candidates for local selections and elections.
•Successfully challenged, together with other Oxford women’s groups, the licence for a local lap-dancing establishment.
•Organised open meetings about the impact of the Con-Dem government’s cuts on women.
•Organised a questionnaire survey about members’ work-life balance and flexible work options.
•Organised a quiz evening which tested the political and gender knowledge of our members and friends of all ages and genders
•Collected data about the impact of government policies on schools and education
If you are interested in taking part in the Womens Group’s development programme then please get in touch here. Full fetails of all upcoming events can be found hereand news from the Women's Group can be found here.
Bev Clack, Labour Councillor for St Clement’s Ward, said:
“The Oxford Labour Women’s Group played a vital part in my decision to stand as a Labour candidate in May 2012’s elections. I’ve always been a member of the party, but not always the most active. In the past, I found the structures of the party difficult to negotiate, and the Women’s Group has been a brilliant and supportive way of starting the process of getting involved. It’s enabled me to grow in confidence and to find my political voice. It’s great to meet with other women of all ages and from all backgrounds. Meetings are enjoyable and thought-provoking, and it is an important place to me where I know I'll find support and encouragement”.
Helen O’Hara, Labour Councillor for Cowley Ward, said:
“I grew up in Cowley and experienced the benefits of an area of considerable employment and opportunity for ordinary people. In today's financial climate I would not have gone to university.
“Early in my career working with vulnerable people, a female colleague who was a Unison member gave me great support. From this I got more involved with and learned and understood the function and role of a union. More recently I have been able to share my ambition to make a positive difference with the many committed people I have met through the local Labour party. I started with door knocking sessions alongside local Labour MP Andrew Smith and following this have become more involved supporting the councillors' community work as a volunteer. The Women's group is a valuable space for discussion, questioning and encouragement. We have highlighted mainstream issues such as cuts to Child benefit, tax credits, and pensions”.
Pat Kennedy, Labour Councillor for Lye Valley Ward, said:
"I was elected a councillor for Lye Valley in May 2012. I have pursued interests in housing, particularly HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation), community groups and also educational attainment in Oxford schools. I am also a school governor at St Francis School.
I have been actively involved in the Labour Party for nearly fifty years. I hasten to add that I started young as my parents were involved with trade union and Labour Party politics in Swindon. My mother was a Wiltshire County Councillor for sixteen years and my great aunt was also a Labour councillor in Weymouth.
“I had always wanted to make a bigger contribution to the Labour Party’s achievements. Once I had more time in retirement, I decided to try to become a City Councillor in Oxford. The women’s group has been supportive of these aspirations”.
New report finds shocking absence of women from UK public life. See Sex and Power 2013. Who Runs Britain? Centre for Women and Democracy. Counting Women In coalition. http//www.fawcettsociety.org.uk
Job sharing for MPs? Labour MP, John McDonnell wants the law changed to allow MPs to job-share, a move which he says would help make Parliament more diverse http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20423564 . Job sharing local council positions is something Oxford Labour Women discuss.
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