We’re standing for the Green Party Women committee because it needs an overhaul
Every political party needs a powerful and effective women’s group, and ours is no exception. Women entering politics face a toxic combination of barriers. Abuse and harassment of women — online and offline — is dialed up to eleven for parliamentarians and councillors. Our political systems, our political discourse, are riddled with microaggressions, bias and clear discrimination. And let’s face it, there is still a great deal of structural sexism holding women back in every aspect of life: caring responsibilities and reproductive labour are still overwhelmingly undertaken by women; and these duties and distractions limit our time and capacity to participate fully in political activity.
It’s not always obvious why Green politics makes breaking systems of oppression so central. But in reality the problems of exploitation of our planet are closely bound up with problems of exploitation of minorities of every kind – whether it’s the economic system that exploits both people and planet, the patriarchy subjugating women and gender minorities, or the colonial heritage that struggles to shake off its racist exploitation of people of colour. The Green Party needs always to foreground resisting that subjugation.
Women in the Green Party face these structures of oppression both within our party, and outside of it. But sadly, even in this party with its pious commitments to change, not enough has yet been done to tackle them. It’s abundantly clear that huge numbers of women in the party don’t feel represented by the current Green Party Women leadership. Change is needed — and fast.
Green Party Women should be the body that tackles these barriers head on. We should be working for new internal policies to address them, and campaigning for wider political change to empower all women — especially women of colour, disabled women and LGBTIQA+ women – to participate fully in our politics.
Likewise, the issues central to our politics — social injustice, the climate crisis, housing, transport and imperialism — disproportionately affect women. Women faced the brunt of devastating Tory austerity, are being hit hardest by the impacts of environmental destruction and suffer first and most from imperialism and war. Green Party Women must take the lead in campaigning on these issues and ensure they are central to the Green Party’s overall messaging, as well as finding ways to support the nurturing of young women volunteering to take these issues forward.
With three major elections taking place in 2019, we could surely have done more to provide effective support to women candidates. In practice, that should mean delivering an effective mentoring programme to support women from the start of the process through to election — from encouraging and empowering women to stand as target candidates, to providing dedicated support during the campaigning period, and ensuring that they have a mentor to turn to once they’re elected to public office.
2021 brings another unprecedented set of elections, including the London Assembly, the Welsh Parliament and a huge raft of local councils. So it is absolutely crucial that Green Party Women create the right kinds of support immediately.
This is the vision that has inspired us to field a slate of new candidates for the Green Party Women committee. We believe our party should be a powerful tool for women’s liberation and that Green Party Women is a vehicle for delivering that. We believe that women’s liberation must be trans-inclusive and truly intersectional, jointly fighting alongside other liberation groups for LGBTIQA+ liberation, racial justice and disabled rights.
We come from a range of backgrounds in the party — from former MEPs to sitting councillors, from Young Greens to candidates in the Welsh Parliament – so that we should be able to be a voice for all kinds of women at all stages of their careers in Green politics. Together we bring the ideas, the skills and open-minded and forward-looking vision that is needed to transform Green Party Women. We want to let it become what it always ought to have been.
Voting for the next Green Party Women committee is set to take place on October 3. If you share our vision, please vote for the following candidates:
Catherine Rowett and Kathryn Bristow – Co-chairs
Rosie Rawle and Rebecca Mulvaney – Treasurer (Job share)
Alex Phillips and Georgie Oatley – Membership Secretary (Job share)
Rosi Sexton and Emily Herbert – Secretary (Job share)
Amelia Womack and Catriona Sibbert – Non Portfolio Officer (Job share)
Rachel Collinson and Alice Bennett – Non Portfolio Officer (Job Share)
PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now.