Labour are proud to now be the largest party in Local Government after a 9% swing in May's elections saw the Party take control of 99 councils. Great news.
But despite this cause for celebration, what about women councillors? Women remain under-represented (making up only around a quarter of council leaders), are frequently pigeonholed into caring rather than economic briefs, often bear a disproportionate brunt of inter-Labour group bullying, and fail to benefit from a "wait your turn" culture of succession planning. 88% of councillors report intimidation or abuse, and an unacceptable 33% of women councillors have experienced sexual harassment.
LWN is always razor focused on solutions rather than problems, so we don't want to moan, we want to manifest change.
Importantly, we want this to be a long-term campaign which LWN pursues and adds to over a number of years, so while we have identified our core asks, we are keen to learn from you and your experiences and successes to create a lasting catalyst for inclusion, inside the Labour movement and across local government.
But we can't do it without you, so whether you're a current, former or future councillor, or simply want to support our drive for fairer power sharing, please get involved!
In June 2023, we were proud to launch our #Councils4ThisMillennium campaign.
It started with an upbeat and enjoyable Zoom launch to identifying practical solutions -including hybrid meetings, stronger parental and carers' leave for councillors, accessible meeting times, supportive cultures- and much more.
The launch heard from an incredible panel including LGA Labour Chair Cllr Anntoinette Bramble; Baroness Sue Hayman, spokesperson for Local Government; Cllr Sharon Thompson, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council; Jennifer Hemingway, Equalities Officer at The Co-Operative Party; and Cllr Tafheen Sharif, first Mayor of colour at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council. You can watch this (and other LWN event) here!
Getting Conference Ready
Motions are an important part of the Labour Party's internal democracy, with each CLP and affiliate being able to submit and support motions. At the end of this section is a link to read and download our new motion to Women's Conference and Annual Conference 2023, but we need your help making it to Conference floor.
Proposing a motion can be simple, but can differ depending on your local Party structures. The basic process is:
- send the motion to the Women's Branch/ local Branch / CLP Secretary and ask for it to be tabled at the next meeting;
- attend the meeting and speak in favour of the motion;
- other people may also speak on the motion, in favour of it or against it;
- a vote will be held, and the result announced, and
- if its successful the Secretary will submit it via the Labour Party portal
By passing this motion, your local Party would be asking the next Labour Government to commit to:
- lead a cultural revolution in local government, taking action to make council life inclusive, flexible and embracing of talent, in order to attract, support and retain a diversity of future leaders.
- remove legal barriers to hybrid council meetings.
- create a statutory right for parental and carers' leave for all levels of public office.