This was a discussion in Liverpool as part of The World Transformed festival with Emma Dent Coed MP, Danielle Rowley MP, Jennifer Forbes, Ann Henderson, Leah Levane and Dr Faiza Shaheen. I have to say, this was a refreshing and constructive talk. I think Faiza Shaheen particularly stood out to me as clear, passionate and clued-up. I look forward to her unseating Iain Duncan Smith!
• Education is vital: not just degrees but opening up trades to women. Trade union education important too.
• Restrictions on social provisions makes involvement harder on single mothers, for example.
• Solidarity with women and socialists as a broader internationalism.
• 'Period poverty'.
• Labour movement tradition of 'female carer', holdover from miners' strike.
• Tory sexism in Parliament well documented.
• All-woman shortlist encourage women to get involved.
• Without changing the economy, women's position in society will not drastically change. Right now we have 'capitalist feminism'. More than 80% of austerity measures hits women - don't want to even out this misery but uproot the whole system. This is not just about the gender pay gap but deeper issues.
• Social infrastructure - the movement needs women to push this idea as male economics would tend to overlook this.
• Important that teachers and others are seeing young women succeed and encouraging them to progress.
• Image of trade unions as male-dominated not entirely accurate, little-known records of women organisers historically, even before women got the vote.
• ^ Women shaped the Labour Party too, do not receive enough credit for this.
• Struggle for abortion rights is an internationalist cause for working-class women.
• Parliament like a public boys' school but also 80% pantomime and gossipy/backstabbing culture.
• Humiliation or fear of it in Parliament means some people hold back. Men are overrepresented.
• Disestablishment of church and state will improve Parliamentary procedure. Also, ending archaic traditions such as filibustering. The culture needs to be detoxified.
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