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My pledges to Labour Party women

My pledges to Labour Party women

We should always be proud of Labour’s record in achieving greater gender equality – both within our party and in society when we were in government. But there is so much more to do. 

Too often when we talk about gender equality we ask what more can be done to support women to break through – rather than do the harder of work of seeking to change the system. I want to change the system.

Here are my pledges to women in the Labour Party.

EQUAL REPRESENTATION

  • As soon as I put my hat in the ring to become Deputy Leader, the fact that we could end up with a male leader and deputy was very apparent to me. If elected, I will immediately propose an equal co-deputy leader post which must be a woman. This will be a permanent post, ensuring there is always at least one woman in our leadership team. I will also propose a rule change to ensure that future leader and deputy leader campaigns never run concurrently again.
  • Any future Shadow Cabinet must meet or exceed our current gender balance of 50/50.
  • I will always be an ally to women, and that means handing over the mic. At least 50% of media appearances by Labour representatives should be women and I will set clear targets for our media office to achieve this. That means our press officers sometimes saying no when a man is asked to appear, and it means I will sometimes say no to media requests and recommend a woman instead. It also means ensuring there are no all-male panels and working with TV and radio producers to achieve this.
  • I will support initiatives to work towards 50% of Labour council group leaders being women.

TACKLING SEXUAL HARASSMENT, MISOGYNY, AND BULLYING IN THE PARTY

  • We must change the way our party works so that we transform its culture. That starts by recognising the intersectional nature of abuse: it is harder to be a woman in public life. I will take personal responsibility for rooting out all forms of racism, bullying and harassment across our party. I fully support Stella Creasy’s campaign to make misogyny a hate crime.
  • I will take personal responsibility for ensuring that our grievance and complaints process it is fit for purpose. As Deputy Leader, I will work with women who have lived experience of the complaints process, as well as those who have found the system has failed them, to identify the best processes to put in place. I will enforce a zero-tolerance approach and implement an independent complaints and grievance procedure that members can have full confidence in, with reports submitted to the police where necessary.

MAKING ELECTED OFFICE MORE ACCESSIBLE

  • I will propose extending the use of All Women’s Shortlists beyond 2030.
  • I will ensure there is properly-funded training, mentoring and resources to identify and support women candidates, including the continuation of the successful Jo Cox Women in Leadership programme.

REMOVING BARRIERS FOR WOMEN WHO CHOOSE PUBLIC OFFICE

  • I believe our party should allow job-sharing roles. I supported Jackie Baillie MSP and Pauline McNeill MSP’s bid to run as deputy leader of Scottish Labour on a joint ticket, and it was deeply disappointing this was rejected by our party.
  • I support formal parental leave arrangements for all levels of public office and proxy voting for parental leave. This should be introduced at all levels of government.
  • I supported Stella Creasy’s motion for a locum MP whilst she was on maternity leave and I will maintain this commitment going forward, and fight for it to be introduced in the Scottish Parliament.
  • I will advocate proxy voting for all caring responsibilities and people in remote constituencies. We need to work to make our parliaments more family-friendly, especially for parents travelling long distances. The loss to public life of SNP MSP Gail Ross who represents Wick in the very north of Scotland so that she can spend more time with her young son has put this in perspective for me.
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