International Women’s Day, LYL

March 18, 2009 at 2:02 am / by

As Women’s Officer for London Young Labour, I organised an event for International Women’s Day last week.

Cllr Rohini Simbodyal and Cllr Louisa Thomson spoke about their recent election experiences and Cllr James Murray spoke about how to make an impact as a young councillor.

Louisa came up with a very helpful document for aspiring councillors –

Questions to prepare for the selection interview

Why do you want to do it?

What do you think the most important issue/3 issues are in the ward and what would you do about it/them?

What are the main challenges for [your Borough]?

What contribution would you make to the Council?

What contribution would you make to the campaign?

What would you do in the ward if elected?

How would you organise your time as a councillor? (balancing work with the role…)

How would you communicate with local members and/or residents about your work as a councillor?

Describe your involvement in campaigning in the past year and what you feel you have achieved.

Describe your involvement in the local community over the past year and what you feel you have achieved.

Why are you a member of the Labour Party?


• Prepare a speech
• Think about answers to the above questions
• Ask for a membership list and contact members beforehand
• Don’t be embarrassed and just be yourself – be passionate about why you want to be a Labour councillor!

Louisa Thomson

Very efficient indeed!

I was also delighted to be joined by Angela Eagle MP who spent an hour and a half talking to us! Amongst other topics, we discussed the representation of women and ethnic minorities in politics, civil partnerships, old boys’ networks and Royal Mail. Surprisingly, the topic of the economy didn’t come up that much. Maybe we’ve discussed it to death?

When asked about women only shortlists disproportionately leading to middle class women MPs, Angela said that we shouldn’t get taken in by this particular argument. She said that if you look at the Labour movement, the party and the country as a whole, more people are going to university and more people are now middle class.

She said it should not be viewed as working class men versus middle class women and that the trade union movement has a plethora of strong working class women from which candidates can be picked.

We all said afterwards that it’s not often we get to grill a minister quite so extensively! It was a really enjoyable event and I’d like to thank everyone who made the effort to attend.



1 Comment

  1. S Omar says:

    I think the current downward spiraling state of the economy , both the UK’s and the worlds, is extremely relevant for working women. With the already existing , age old discrimination against women or bias toward hiring men – whichever way you want to look at it – I fear that women will be further marginalized and victimized in terms of job losses as the recession inevitably takes on mammoth proportions and corporations will end up cutting women’s jobs first in accordance with their unspoken view on the age old perspective that men are so much more “productive” than women. Also women who are pregnant, married and slightly “senior” are bound to be affected/victimized during this unsure period of economic instability which god only knows will end when.