Louise Penny, Women’s Officer for Forest of Dean Labour Party, said:
The Labour candidate in the Forest Of Dean for the next general election will be selected from an All Women’s Shortlist. Following a local consultation the South West Regional office has issued this statement “The Labour Party has a long held policy of supporting positive action to improve the gender balance of our candidates and elected representatives at every level. Also, whilst I understand there may be some local opposition, the decision to run Forest of Dean as an All Women Shortlist was made by the National Executive Committee, and their decision is final.”
As the Forest of Dean’s Women’s Officer I welcome this news in our constituency and would like to echo what CLP Chair Bernie O’Neil says: We shall now have to make sure that the woman we choose to stand as our Candidate at the next General Election, is the very best that we can find and the most suitable to represent the residents of the Forest.”
An All Women’s Shortlist is an example of positive action, where one gender is disproportionately represented. Everyone will have their own views, which our chair has stated, however the equalities act specifically allows for All Women’s Shortlists because such an imbalance clearly exists.
With less than one third of UK MPs being women, this is not good enough. I am personally proud that the Labour party recognises this and are leading the way with 45% of the parliamentary Labour party being women. This is more than double the percentage of the Conservatives. We need to celebrate this achievement and recognise how this is so incredibly important as a party and to all women. We also need to select a woman who will stand up for women’s issues. Which is sadly not true of all women MPs.
An AWS is the most effective and positive way of delivering gender equality. This shouldn’t be the case, and we have come a long way to improve issues on equality. However with 51% of the population being women how are those figures in parliament representative? I know there has been opposition about this decision, however I ask people to come together and work for the future of the Forest Of Dean and The Labour Party. We look forward to being part of this exciting opportunity.
Watch out for an invitation for applications coming soon!
This article is also very interesting: https://labourlist.org/2018/04/we-still-need-all-women-shortlists-and-more-mps-like-laura-pidcock/?fbclid=IwAR24Y6F7OiC1C3aPm_UhAqckpvEziAD5ocxggONXv6s_SahAT2NqESSCg6A