Commentary and opinion on national and regional politics by Seema Malhotra

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Inspiring day at TUC Women's Conference

I spent the afternoon & evening at the TUC Women’s conference in Eastbourne today, ahead of speaking at the Electoral Reform Society’s reception tonight. I’ve not spent much time at the TUC Women’s Conference before and I came to the conclusion that it is something we should promote more widely and treasure. The debates that were had in the time I was there were quite short debates, but meaningful and rich with delegates showing their real experience of the issues and challenges. Just some of the issues debated were violence against women, abortion rights, free schools, public services, safety on transport. Issues debated by women from the point of view of women. The TUC brings together working women from a far greater range of backgrounds which made this a people’s debate beyond a political debate, in a conference where people were much more free to connect the personal and political. The discussion at the reception this evening also addressed women’s political representation. I have been making the argument in speeches recently that political equality is not just a consequence that follows from social equality, but in fact is something we must now see as a pre-requisite to social equality. If you don’t have the voices of men and women more equally in political decision making we'll continue to be making decisions from the narrow perspective of a minority.