We have witnessed in 2018 an incredibly vibrant, dynamic and diverse range of events, debates and conversations marking the 100 years since some women in the UK achieved suffrage. Celebrating the many achievements and gains since 1918 of women in political life and power, both here and for our sisters across the globe.
Eve and I had the privilege of connecting with over 100 politicians, academics, gender consultants and activists, working with the British Council, and asking the question “What’s changed in 100 years?” Asking women, and some men, to share their experiences and understanding of where we are, how we got here and what what needs to happen now for women in power and politics.
And it seemed apposite to me that as the nights draw in and we start to wrap ourselves up against the cold, and this centenary year moves into its final months we found ourselves travelling to Westminster for the launch of the resulting report. An opportunity to share those voices, to offer a wider audience an understanding of these experiences.
As Sarah Champion MP said yesterday at the launch, taking the opportunity to reflect on how we got here matters; and we hope this work enables many people to consider what has worked, what has been important in how we and the women and men before us have achieved change and the ways we might now move forward together. It feels apposite because after all the intense activity that has made up centenary year and everything else that has occupied our personal and collective energy in and around the women’s movement, from #metoo to how Brexit impacts on women and everything else in between in 2018, we (the ‘we’ as individuals, as activists, as women’s movement) may well need to take an opportunity to hibernate, reflect and recharge.
But we also hope for more in these times I can only understand as turbulent and often scary both within the UK and globally. What is very clear from those that we spoke to is that we are not “there” yet and that this year of celebration and reflection is not where the discussion, the action or the work ends. We hope that this work is a platform for discussion and change that helping to connect the bright glimmers of positive work, people and energy is a warmth we can build on to make things happen, in #deedsnotwords.
We know that for us taking action means continuing to offer and create spaces where women can reflect on and consider the political system, alongside other women and seek the collaboration and support they need to be successful. What action will you take? What support do you need?
You can visit the #WomenPowerPolitics site here and join the conversation or download the full report.