In Summer 2020, LWN launched its #KeepTheGoodStuff campaign, arguing that the virtual and hybrid world made reality by the Covid-19 pandemic should play a part in work and politics indefinitely going forward, to increase women's participation.
Regrettably, the Conservative Government quickly insisted Councils return to exclusively in person meetings, with Parliament following suit.
Women have long argued that different ways of working are possible. The last two years has shown us that online meetings have a key role to play in reducing barriers presented by caring responsibilities, geography, health, disability or finance. We know not every woman prefers online, or has the relative luxury of her work being able to be executed that way. But for many women, hybrid working reduces unnecessary commuting, eases caring juggles, and cuts transport costs. LWN members also tell us how hybrid working has transformed their ability to participate in political activities, and how back-pedaling on this access has restricted their opportunities to be involved.
In September 2021, LWN's Conference delegate Cllr Katherine Dunne made a passionate case for why hybrid working works at Labour Party Conference.
In December 2021, LWN went further and called for Labour's Parliamentary Selections to have a hybrid elements to enable as broad a range of members as possible to participate, especially women; for the selection timetabled to be halved to 4 weeks; and to allow easier access to postal votes. You can find out about this campaign here
Now LWN is submitting a #KeepTheGoodStuff motion to Labour Party Women's Conference and need your help!
Women's Conference is now taking place virtually on 19th and 20th March, run by the Labour Party. Please lend your support to LWN's motion to #KeepTheGoodStuff.
How you can help:
1) Sign the petition below and share on social media
2) Ask your CLP or Women's Branch to vote to submit the motion to Women's Conference. All policy motions must be submitted to the party by 12 noon Friday 11 February 2022. Contact your CLP Secretary and Women's Officer for advice on how to ensure the motion makes the agenda of your next virtual meeting (don't shoot the messenger, the tight deadlines are set by Labour not LWN!)
3) Stand to be a delegate to Women's Conference and vote to prioritise our #KeepTheGoodStuff motion in the priority ballot.
4) If you need more information get in touch at [email protected]
Hybrid Working Works for Women
Women’s Conference notes that:
- Women have been hardest hit by the pandemic. The pay gap is now bigger, increasing from 14.9% in 2020 to 15.4% in 2021[i]. Women increased the number of hours devoted to care by more than men[ii]. Women of colour are the most likely to have lost jobs[iii].
- The 2020s could be a decade of either progress or regression for women’s economic agency. The Conservative path favours regression: back to the office, back to the council chambers, back to the 1950s.
- For decades, flexible working campaigners were told mass scale remote working is too hard, citing tech challenges and productivity collapse. Post-pandemic, virtual working has been normalised, cutting carbon and boosting wellbeing.
- For some women, the juggle has eased. No more 6 hour roundtrips for a 1 hour meeting. No more paying for childcare to attend your CLP.
Women’s Conference resolves that:
- The Labour Party supports a dynamic, low-carbon economy, underpinned by long-term flexible, remote and hybrid working where possible.
- The Labour Party should make the business case for indefinite hybrid working, unlocking the economic potential of women, carers, disabled people and more.
- Men should be equally encouraged to access hybrid work, and to increase their caring hours to reduce women’s structural oppression.
- Political parties should walk the talk, #KeepTheGoodStuff and ensure hybrid access to democracy indefinitely.
[i] Office of National Statistics
[ii] House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee
[iii] Office of National Statistics