Home > Swansea Students' Union, UK Politics, Welsh Politics > Women on The Front Bench Part 2

Women on The Front Bench Part 2

Part one may be found via https://stephenmarshall20.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/women-on-the-front-bench-at-swansea-university-pt-1/

Ms Rathbone mentioned the importance that Wales saw at least 30% of its representatives being female, this allows for women to be effective in the politics discussed and policy areas to be decided upon. Under 30% women lack popper representation, and where the men are able to dominate the political agenda just like that seen in London.  The fact that women are able to speak up for minority groups, furthers the need for female representation to meet at least the said percentage.

It can be very hard to engage women within the political process, but with confirming and confidence building to many, can provide for more females to step up as candidates and hopefully representatives. There is a believed effect that where there is a female candidate , women are more likely to vote for them rather than a male candidate.

The next and final Assembly Member to speak was Edwina Hart, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science. Mrs Hart has been an Assembly Member since the Assembly’s creation, She has also held a number of portfolios within the Welsh Government including Finance and Local Government and then Health and Social Justice.  Mrs Hart had ran within the Welsh Labour leadership campaign, to which she came second to the current leader and First Leader Carwyn Jones.

Mrs Hart noted the fact that “women need to cause trouble” in order to get somewhere,  and mentioned her trade union experience where she had ran and failed first time round in an attempt to win a place on the TUCs executive. This was later rectified, but the trade unions is still a very male dominated place.   There is many times where Mrs Hart had stated she felt annoyed but on a positive outlook seeing that it would be “better tomorrow we’ll give them hell”.

Mrs Hart’s current portfolio is normally considered to be a macho one, and shared experiences where she has been to various business functions, with her role as a minister and come across “tokenistic women” in some businesses attempts to “please “ her. Mrs Hart added it is the talents of women that are needed within the political sphere, women defiantly bring a different feeling and workings to the way politics is practised within Wales.

The issue of positive discrimination within the Labour Party was rightly mentioned and where Mrs Hart argued that twinning was a start but not good enough. All Women Shortlists (AWS) is a better system but like much can stop being practised, as sometimes members within the party can become complacent and not see through internal policies long term. Women are starting to achieve and win various positions of authority worldwide yet Europe still has a lot to do in order to catch up with the rest of the world.

“Women are obviously interested in issues affecting equality “ being in reference to the pension strikes that were due to take place shortly. Women will be worse off with the proposed changes to pensions, thus it is important to continue the fight and raise awareness of the fact that women are worst off. The proposed cuts on benefits will also mainly affect women, and Mrs Hart added that the public hates unfairness and tend to campaign to try and improve their situation.

Women also have a better scope to deal with issues arising that affect minority groups, Mrs Hart uses Gypsies and travellers and has taken a keen interest and has always aimed to improve their way of life. She further noted that she had acted within her various ministerial roles, in health for example, looked at improving general health as well as access to health facilitates where and when needed.  The massive problem that tends to show it’s head is where the gypsies or travellers tend to stay or reside on a short or long term basis.

Have to say , overall the event was a success and had raised awareness of many important issues facing women in the political world. There is clearly a long way to go, but this blog does forget the hard work already put in and seeing many successes- Wales being one such example.

Well done Sarah Woodvine a fantastic event and congratulations on it’s success

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