Ani Stafford-Townsend

Four members of the Green Party Women committee have resigned simultaneously. On Monday, Ani Stafford Townsend, Elise Benjamin, Natalia Kubica and Meg Shepherd-Foster all stood down from their positions.

The members who resigned have issued a lengthy statement explaining their rationale. They say they have experienced “numerous issues with process, procedures, and communication”, and that “working relationships have broken down and of particular concern is the way that our elected co-chair has been treated”.

Green Party Women has been bitterly divided over trans rights for a number of years. All of the members of the committee that have resigned are on the wing of the group that seeks to support the Green Party’s policies on trans rights, and strives to make the party more inclusive for trans people.

The statement from the resigning members is below. Bright Green contacted Tina Rothery, the remaining Green Party Women co-chair, to respond to the resignation statement. Rothery declined to comment.

Statement from resigning members of Green Party Women

Dear Green Party Women members,

It was an honour to be elected by you to serve on the GPW Committee this year and it is with great regret and heavy hearts that we have come to the decision to make this statement: We will be resigning from the Green Party Women Committee.

Every member of GPW is important and we wanted to represent all of you. We have so much respect for our fellow volunteers and activists. It was our hope that we could be part of a united committee working towards common goals. 

Unfortunately, it has been more difficult to reconcile our differences and work together as a cohesive unit than each of us expected. There have been numerous issues with process, procedures, and communication that we have not been able to resolve. 

Despite the goodwill and intentions of everyone elected, working relationships have broken down and of particular concern is the way that our elected Co-Chair has been treated, including being increasingly scape-goated for things that are out of their control. We have attempted to resolve this, but not been successful.

Simply asking for the GPW Constitution to be upheld or complying with the instructions and wishes of senior committees of the Party have led to relentless and stressful demands that now result in a hostile and unpleasant environment for all involved. There is work the Party must do to better support volunteer staff in these roles and this situation cannot be allowed to happen again.

Each of us remains indebted and grateful for your votes. There are so many wonderful and inspiring women and non-binary people in the Green Party. Hearing from guest speakers at our online events and meeting incredible members of the group remains a highlight for all of us.

We would like to focus our time and effort now on supporting women and non-binary people in other ways, and on helping to get them elected. It is our hope that the remaining committee will reflect on where opportunities were missed and that we can part on amicable terms. 

Yours faithfully,

Ani Stafford-Townsend (Co-Chair)

Elise Benjamin (Membership Secretary)

Natalia Kubica and Meg Shepherd-Foster (Non-Portfolio Officer)

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Image credit: Jon Craig – Creative Commons