The Labour Women’s Conference was opened this morning with a welcome to delegates which recognised this would be the first women’s conference that is allowed to send one motion to main conference. It is also the last which is an adjunct to main conference for a few hours. Noon to six for one thousand women to discuss the problems women face in a hostile society dominated by austerity. We were lucky enough to have our motion in a section with major unions but I will leave discussion of that to our delegate Eve who went to a compositing meeting at 8 am after travelling the previous day.  

The first speaker was LP General Secretary Jeannie Formby who said her role was too encourage young women to work especially in their communities affected by budget cuts.

She was celebrating the fact that their are 208 women MPs, 119 of whom are Labour.  

Dawn Butler was another speaker and while the media have concentrated on her remarks about being in  Liverpool with a reminder about a Labour Council of 30 years ago refusing to set a legal budget with the slogan ‘better to break the law than break the poor’. But her emphasis was on the consequences of cuts for women. She talked about how the poorest women were hardest hit and about the closure of woman’s refuge and how that effected both women and children.  

She completed her speech by introducing Jeremy Corbyn.  A rousing chorus of ‘oh Jeremy Corbyn’ greeted Jeremy who waved and smiled.  I really was surprised by how Jeremy appears to have grown into his job. He both looked and sounded like a future PM. His message was about the important role of women in the party and how the number of women members had grown and was increasing faster than new male members.  He talked about the diversity of LP women and the work they carried out in society He suggested this government would do well to listen to women in society.  He went on to say that 6.3 billion pounds had been cut from social care and asked when carers would get a fair deal. He said we urgently need a carers charter. The UK is 17th out of 28 in Europe for women’s life expectancy.  He committed a Labour government to increase the carers’ allowance.  He concluded on the question of abortion rights for Northern Ireland.  Conference loved him and cheered most of his remarks especially the commitment of the future Labour government to improve the lives of women. 

The next speaker was from BAME , Nandine Grandisom Mills who explained how BAME women were under-represented in decision-making in the workplace. 

Top table speakers finished with BAME and conference took over.  The motions which were debated were so much in line with the views of Labour women that there was not one speaker against and all motions were carried, some unanimously.

More later with pictures if I can manage the technology. 

Ann Bonner

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