National Women’s Committee elections: Labour Women’s Declaration engages in slate-making for the first time, with impressive results at nomination stage.
Labour was the first political party to recognise women’s rights as a key aspect of policy, but unfortunately the party has in recent times been without a national body to champion policy issues as they affect women. However, rule changes at the 2018 national Conference re-established a National Women’s Committee with a policy-making Women’s Conference at its centre. It’s not working perfectly yet, and suffers from under-resourcing, but we believe the aim should still be to build women’s organisation and voices in policy-making across the party. Had such a body been in place in 2014 when changes replacing sex with gender were made by stealth to the party’s rule book and code, and also enabling male-born people to use the routes like All Women’s Shortlists developed to support women, these changes would at least have been subject to impact assessment for the effect on women.
Voting on the six CLP vacancies will take place at the Annual Women’s Conference on 7th October in Liverpool, and for the first time LWD is promoting a ‘slate’.
Our two candidates, Dr Louise Irvine and Dr Juemin Xu, as reported here in Labour List on 21 June, are the only candidates outside the two main slates who gained enough CLP nominations (29 and 28) to go on the ballot. Many LWD-supporting CLPs also nominated Cecile Wright (CLGA) and Kathryn Salt (L2Win) because we understood and believed, (though we’ve not had it confirmed), that these two candidates also support women’s sex-based rights. Possibly as a result, they appear to have by far the most nominations within their respective slates.
We urge party members to encourage your CLP delegates to Women’s Conference to vote for these four, regardless of their other slate preferences.
LWD garners support from all sides of the party, and we pride ourselves on how we collaborate in support of our one issue – the protection and retention of existing sex-based rights. During the campaign we have met strong private support from women members right across the political spectrum, regardless of these members’ views on other issues.
It might be a challenge to win this time, so strong is the tradition of voting for one or other of the two slates within the party. We are relative newcomers, and due to the usual intimidation experienced by gender critical women everywhere, have had to organise partly in secret for so long that many CLP delegates, even those who might support our positions, won’t even have heard of us. But, whatever happens, we have put down a marker that, regardless of the abuse and bullying women have experienced for speaking out in the party, we refuse to stay in the shadows.
We want to play our part in strengthening women’s voices in the party, voices from all backgrounds and perspectives.
LWD candidates to National Women’s Committee elections 2023.