The Parliament Project is a non-partisan initiative that seeks to ‘inspire, empower and encourage’ women to run for political office and address the UK’s ‘serious democratic deficit’. Tony McDonough reports
More than 60 women will attend a workshop in Liverpool this week to learn more about how they can run for political office.
The Parliament Project is a non-partisan initiative that seeks to “inspire, empower and encourage” women to run for political office across the UK and has so far delivered workshops to more than 500 people.
It runs information and skills-building events and offers peer networking to support women to get elected and seeks to address what is described by one local campaigner as a “serious democratic deficit” in British politics.
City region issue
It is an issue that resonates in the Liverpool city region, particularly following the election of Labour’s Steve Rotheram as the region’s first Metro Mayor in May.
Mr Rotherham heads up the cabinet on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. It is made up of the council leaders of the six constituent authorities – Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Halton.
All six council leaders are currently male and the decision by the Metro Mayor to appoint a number of women to senior policy and advisory roles was not enough to quell anger over the issue.
The Women’s Leadership Group (WLG), a collective of women which aims to tackle the lack of diversity in power and decision-making structures in the city region, launched a ‘Give up your seats for women’ campaign in response.
Mr Rotheram himself has acknowledged the scale of the problem, saying recently: “We are having discussions within the combined authority at how we can better address the current imbalance.
“If we are truly to represent the communities which we are drawn from then we need greater representation in all sorts of areas.”
Exclusion of women
The Parliament Project seminar – ‘Explore your Political Pathway’ – will take place at the The Women’s Organisation at 54 St James Street on Thursday, November 16.
It is coming to Liverpool following a request from Tabitha Morton of the WLG, who herself ran for Metro Mayor for the Women’s Equality Party against Mr Rotheram.
She said: “The exclusion of women from British politics is a serious democratic deficit and that’s why events like these are critical – I want Britain to be first worldwide, not 36th, in women’s representation.”
Vicky Booth, co-director of the Parliament Project, added: We know that there are huge numbers of women out there with the skills, talent and ambition to stand for elected office.
“The Parliament Project creates a space for women to explore their political ambition, understand what the roles involve, get inspired, and network with other women doing the same.”
Thursday’s event will feature Alison McGovern, Labour MP for Wirral South. It will be delivered by Eve Holt and Nicola Waterworth, Parliament Project leads for the North.
More details about the Parliament Project are available at www.parliament project.com