Leeds NW CLP have been running a series of posts this week in preparation for International Women’s Day today. This is the last – by Julie Heselwood, a member of Adel and Wharfedale Branch who is standing as Labour candidate in Weetwood this May. The series has also included our own Megan Davies on social media and feminism. But there have been posts on Eating disorders [Kate Langston], Domestic Violence [Deputy PCC Isabel Owen], feminism and rape culture [Freya Potter], Women and Austerity [Leonie Sharp]. Two great personal testimonies to the ideals which inspire them from Councillor Janette Walker and Otley’s mayor, Pam Gill – plus Linda McAvan MEP on what the EU has done for women and Yvette Cooper on what Labour offers Women. The whole series makes excellent reading – a testimony to what Labour women are contributing – nationally but also locally here in Leeds NW – to the left-wing debate.

Leeds North West Constituency

At the 1987 General Election just 21 Labour women MPs were elected. This prompted 4 women – Barbara Follett, Barbara Roche, Hilary De Lyon and Jean Black – to form the Labour Women’s Network in 1988.They were disappointed and frustrated at the low number of women elected in the recent election and wanted change. Julie with Yvette Cooper Julie with Yvette Cooper

After just 10 years of campaigning, the 1997 General Election saw a large increase in the number of women in the House of Commons, with 101 Labour women MPs elected. This was also a victory for Labour Women’s Network, who had played a crucial role in getting more women selected, then elected as MP’s. Booklets on Labour’s selection procedures had been published; telephone helplines initiated; subscriber newsletters mailed; fringe meetings organised; and a stand staffed at major Conferences….

When LWN was founded, fewer than 10% of Labour MPs were women. Women now…

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