‘Young people break the norm of broken systems’ – Amelia Womack
This weekend, members of the Young Greens – the youth and student wing of the Green Party of England and Wales – have been meeting in Coventry for their annual convention. One of the keynote speakers at the event was current deputy leader of the party, Amelia Womack.
Bright Green caught up with her at the event to reflect on her time in office and to get her take on the importance of the Young Greens within the Green Party.
Womack was first elected as deputy leader in 2014. At the time, she was still a member of the Young Greens, and a graduate of the group’s flagship training scheme – 30 under 30. According to Womack, the fact that she was elected while a Young Green was important, “It was really exciting at the time to see that young people could be in the leadership, and [in] that 2015 general election there was a really buzz about young people – the under 30s. This idea of a youthquake was going to change British politics.”
So I think it was exciting for the party, but I think it was just this time where there was a rise in youth representation and understanding of why young people should be engaging in politics, need to engage in politics, and how young people do break the norm, quite often, of those broken systems in the press in media as well as political systems of challenging the status quo and ensuring policies are relevant to their generation, or our generation at the time.
This assessment is echoed in her argument that the Green Party’s youth wing is a vital part of the party. Womack says that there’s a “real need to ensure that a younger generation is being heard in politics”. She told Bright Green,
The Young Greens are so important because there’s a real need to ensure that a younger generation is being heard in politics. And it’s through organising together that we ensure that youth voice is being properly represented. At a time when there’s a cost of living crisis, there’s a climate emergency, we know young people will be harmed by this.
Beyond conversations about the Young Greens and youth engagement in politics, Bright Green asked Womack about what she deemed to be her biggest successes over the course of the eight years she has held the deputy leader position. She listed three achievements – “ensuring there’s support for diverse candidates”, campaigning to make misogyny a hate crime and “connecting flood risk to the climate and ecological emergency”. Alongside this, she said, “really the things that I am most proud of is I have prioritised those grassroots in the party.”
Womack announced earlier this year that she will be standing down as deputy leader this year, and Greens will be electing her replacement throughout the summer. Bright Green asked Womack about her assessment of that election. She said,
I obviously hoped that more women would stand, having been a woman that had promoted women’s rights in the party. But one of the things that I think is really important for this election is I think lots of people have been comparing what the next person will do compared to what I did, and I think what’s really important to remember is – I’ve evolved my leadership during specific times throughout the party, and actually seeing someone come in and maybe doing things a bit differently will be really exciting.
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