I said in my previous article for the newsletter that it ‘seemed like a good idea at the time, applying to be the Woman Delegate, no less’.
Well, it was! Women’s Conference for me started with getting there for 7.30 am, because our motion on Period Poverty, included in the Womens Health and Safety section, had to be composited with similar motions from CWU, GMB and Mid-Sussex CLP and that was at 8 am.
A canter through the docks from the hotel and past The Beatles Story (the ‘S’ was gone, so it read The Beatles tory, Scouse humour? – but I digress) was followed by a challenge at the entrance. No entry because no pass as it hadn’t arrived in Normandie before I left. Pleading by one of the Women’s Conference staff didn’t work, until she called The Man Who Could, and the conference office was opened specially and my pass printed.
So setting aside that rather stressful start, I went into the compositing meeting, to discuss our motion with what turned out to be very like-minded delegates. We agreed a composite resolution on period poverty, which expanded to include incontinence pads and also the issue of support during menopause for women at work.
Margaret Greenwood MP was there (Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) – had a lovely chat afterwards – including our Open Selection motion – and took the photo opportunity. So what did she think about Open Selection, I hear you cry. She seemed mainly supportive, with a few reservations.
Time for coffee and breakfast, which I’d not had time for earlier, then a look around the stands, collect some goodies, meet up with other LI members there, and then it was into the main event, which was chaired by Ann Black, whom I believe is well known to LI….
Jeremy spoke – always inspiring to listen to, our Jeremy – and Dawn Butler, who made me laugh and cry and was really great.
But the stars for me were the women who proposed, seconded and spoke to the motions – Abortion Rights, Childcare, Women’s Health and Safety, Women and the Economy. Passionate, feisty, caring women who made my heart strum and my spirit rise up. And I’m making no apologies for using these words. All of the motions were passed and I believe this means they’re now part of Labour Party policy.
My final bit of the day – the vote for the motion to go forward to the main Conference – was curtailed as LI had a housing crisis, and not wanting to be homeless for the next five days I had to pass on the vote and rush off to assist. But I trusted the women there to make a good choice; all of the motions were important. They chose Women and the Economy, by an overwhelming vote of the affiliates.
Final observation: too little time! Oh, and the ‘S’ was back by the end of Conference.
Eve Drayton Hill