The Women’s Forum is a network of women across Wimbledon CLP which is led by the Women’s Officer. She is your representative on the Executive Committee and she attends EC meetings to ensure that women have a significant voice in areas like policy, strategic direction and campaigning. If you are a woman and a member of the Labour Party, you are automatically a member of Wimbledon CLP Women’s Forum.
Why have a Women’s Forum?
Women’s inclusion and participation in political life is as important now as it’s ever been. There are too few women MPs and therefore there is too little representation of women’s issues in parliament. While women remain politically under-represented at all levels within the UK, the Labour Party outperforms both the Conservatives and LibDems in terms of representational government. Nationally, most Local Councillors are men and only a small fraction of Council Leaders are women. We are fortunate in Merton to have two women council representatives, Pauline Cowper and Eleanor Stringer.
The inequities of everyday sexism including the gender pay gap, the plight of WASPI women, the unfair burden placed on women during the COVID pandemic and the continued sexual harassment scandals, among others, remind us that there is still a long way to go before these disparities are addressed. This is especially true for Black and Asian Women, women with disabilities and transgender women. The interaction between different factors like gender, race, class, sexuality and age can often compound difficulties for women that need to be addressed through political oversight and intervention.
A Women’s Forum provides us with the opportunity to offer each other mutual support in working to challenge these serious social inequalities that continue to marginalise and repress women. It also allows for the coming together of a community of women with a huge range of talent, skill and enthusiasm that we can enjoy and celebrate within our commitment to supporting all of women’s interests within and outside of the Labour Party.
What does a Women’s Forum Do?
A Women’s Forum aims to act as a champion for the voice of women across the constituency. We will:
- Listen to your ideas and views and provide a welcoming environment
- Create opportunities for Forum members’ participation within the party
- Provide an empowering platform for women to achieve their political aims and aspirations
- Encourage women to join the Labour Party
- Engage with women’s campaigns within and outside of the party
- Promote the issues that you care about
- Hold a range of meetings and training events
- Pursue fundraising opportunities
- When permissible again, meet in person for coffee mornings and other social gatherings
Before we were subject to the necessary restrictions of lockdown, numerous ideas had been put forward as activities for the Women’s Forum. They included a women’s choir, a breakfast group and a book club as well as engaging in the political campaigning activities that most concerns the Labour Party women’s membership. In the meantime, some of these groups can be pursued online and we are canvassing our members in order to provide opportunities for political and social engagement within the Labour Party. If you are a member of the Women’s Forum, you should have received a copy of the questionnaire and we would ask that you complete and return it to the Women’s Officer.
The Women’s Officer welcomes your comments, thoughts and ideas. Contact Dr Debora Diamond at firstname.lastname@example.org