Home > Swansea Students' Union, UK Politics, Welsh Politics > Women on the Front Bench at Swansea University -Pt 1

Women on the Front Bench at Swansea University -Pt 1

Women on the Front Bench at Swansea University

“Women On The Front Bench” was an Event hosted by the Labour Students society at Swansea University. The aim of the night was to listen to women from both Students’ Union/ NUS Wales/ UK alongside 3 Assembly Members.

The full list of speakers included

Rosemary Butler – Presiding Officer at the National Assembly for Wales and AM for Newport West

Edwina Hart – Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science , AM for Gower

Jenny Rathbone – AM for Cardiff Central

Rhiannon Hedge – Swansea Students’ Union Education officer

Eleri Jones – Swansea Students’ Union Womens’ Officer

Stephanie Lloyd- NUS Wales Womens’ Officer

Estelle Hart – NUS UK’s Womens’ Officer

The first Speaker Rosemary Butler praised the fact that Wales has had a consistency of having at least double the amount of women representatives in comparison to the House of Commons in London. The Welsh Assembly as an institution can pride itself on being the first legislature in the world to have equal men to women ratio of representatives (2003- 2007). This sadly is not the case today, Rwanda is the current highest with 53.6% of representatives being female.

Mrs Butler strongly noted the importance of women as representatives, allowing for a different perspective in terms of policy.

“Women are not better than males, just different “

Women are supposedly more focused on children’s and community issues, while men are arguably more likely to focus on trade unions and matters on energy. This she further noted was not the case, women representatives do focus on many other issues and allow different lines of thought to be added to the everyday work of the Assembly’s business.  The fact that Mrs Butler had entered politics due to wanting a bench in a local park in Newport, had ran for council and went from there to where she is now is amazing, more so due to obstacles trying to change attitudes of “men in grey suits”. The National Assembly has to report to UK government of its duties to ensure equality on an annual basis and this allows for better representation or implementation of policy.

Women according to Mrs Butler can scrutinise legislation in a different way compared to their male counterparts. They are also play a vital role in government, where 50% is comprised of women and who have made hard decisions just as males would have had to do.

“Don’t worry about the glass ceiling its the sticky floor you should be worried about”

Mrs Bulter  also stated of schemes in place to encourage more women to become involved in politics, one way of such being a shadowing scheme whereby women can shadow female assembly members to gain experience.

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