I am a strong advocate for the use of AWS to raise women's representation within the party and have supported AWS decisions on the NEC's Organisation Sub-Committee (often in the face of very strong opposition). I am very happy to continue to do so until we have genuine and sustained parity
But we need to take a more strategic and transparent approach to deciding which seats are allocated AWS so we can tackle the, false, accusation that an AWS = a 'fixed' seat.
I also want to see us do much more to encourage women to apply for selection - women still only make up 13% of the applicants for Open selections. Your organisation does brilliant work in preparing women for selection but I think it also requires a fairer selection process which provides a level playing field for candidates of different backgrounds and resources. I have been arguing for that in my role on the Collins Implementation committee and support spending caps in selections.
I think it's also about providing pathways of development through the party. I've visited 118 CLPs now in every part of the country and what's really struck me is the fact that there are only about 10% of those that have a woman Chair. In the vast majority of cases the CLP Chair is a man and the CLP Secretary is a woman. I've asked the party to provide the demographic breakdown of CLP Office bearers across the country to see how much of an issue this is and to start a dialogue about how we develop more of our under-represented groups in the party