A plea for more women

to stand for Federal Party Committees.

Along with various other things, this note came through the post from the Women Liberal Democrats. I was rather taken with its to the point and concise argument. so, I have TYPED IT OUT(!!!) below. And added some links so that you can easily see what they're on about.

The number of women seeking election to the Federal Policy and Federal Executive committees has declined in the recent past. As a result the responsibility of ensuring that a female viewpoint is expressed falls very heavily on just a few women. Is this fair? The women who get elected do a great job, but they really can't be expected to cover everything. The Party constitution provides for a quota of elected women on the committees - if sufficient numbers of women are nominated. In addtion to the members who are elected by conference representatives there are also nominated members on all Federal Committees. The maority of these nominated members are men, which means that the committees always have a predominately male perspective reflected in the decisions they make.

The elections are held every two years and 2008 is such a year.

Will you stand, or find another woman to stand?

You don't have to be an expert.

The year starts Janaury 1st. The committees meet several times a year and the period of election is two years.

Members also have the opportunity to participate in Working Groups on particular policy issues.

The list of members for these committees can be viewed on the party website, please take a look, see how few women are really at the heart of the decision making process of the Liberal Democrats'
From my calculations, only 21% of the Federal Executive are female and 22.3% on the Federal Policy Committee are female. The commonly held view is that it takes at least 30% of any group to be female before any change in culture takes place.

Women make up 40% of all liberal Democrat members.

The Federal Finance & Administration committee is better with 25% of it's membership as women but really this committee is key - if you want to know where the power lies, then yo have to look to who has control over the money. It is clear that in the Lib Dems, it is men who have control over the moeny.

The Federal Conference committee does best of all, with 33% of the memeberhip female, which when you take out the non-voting members of the committee rises to 40%. Which is exactly in line with the propotion of Liberal Democrats that are women...hooray!

Now, I would say, that if you have decided that being a PPC is not for you on account of wanting some sort of life over the next 1o or 12 years, then this might be an alternative, that is slightly more sustainable.

After all, this is where all the money is held...money like the Rowntree Fun that was given to us to help increase our diversity in terms of sex and colour!

It'll also be an interesting couple of years as the Bones Commission is implemented.

So, I would encourage all women to stand for these elections. I'm going to!!

Well done WLD for bringing it to our attention!


Steph Ashley said...
24 Jul 2008, 16:04:00

Here's the thing for me, Jo - as I understand it, FPC meetings are held in London. London is seven hours' train ride and around £60 in train fare for me to get to. I would LOVE to be on it, but I can't justify that kind of time and expense without recompense.

Jo Christie-Smith said...
24 Jul 2008, 16:15:00

I appreciate the time issue..certainly FPC are held once a month and I htink they tend to start at 6pm.

However, my understanding is that if you live outside of London the party will pay your travelling expenses; certainly we do in the PCA and I was also able to claim back expenses when I was a member of English Council. So money should never be a barrier to taking part in the Lib Dems.

As for the London centric thing - it's really because of the number of MPs and Party Staff that make London a must.

This year the FPC had an 'away day' - in Camden!!!!

Steph Ashley said...
24 Jul 2008, 16:19:00

Oh I wasn't suggesting that they shouldn't be in London, far from it - I want our MPs to stay near that division bell!

Interesting about the paying of expenses though. I may well look into this.

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