Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Green Party leader to visit Lancaster tomorrow to host public meeting on women in politics

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party. Image: Green Party
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and European election candidate for the region, councillor Gina Dowding, will host a public meeting in Lancaster tomorrow, Wednesday 16th April, to discuss the role of women in politics.

Earlier in the day they will meet with local businesses and visit the Lancaster co-housing and hydro project.

The public meeting, 'What space for a women's agenda in politics in 2014?' will see Natalie Bennett describe her experiences of operating in what can still be seen as a ‘man’s world’. A trustee of the Fawcett Society, Britain’s pre-eminent women’s issues group, she was the founder of the blog Carnival of Feminists and is an active campaigner on women’s issues.

Since becoming leader of the Green Party in 2012, former Guardian journalist, Natalie Bennett has spoken and listened to many women's groups up and down the country on issues ranging from equal pay and worker’s rights to Female Genital Mutilation.

Natalie Bennett is the only female leader of a UK national political party - and she took over from Caroline Lucas, the Green Party's first leader, which is the first time a woman political party leader has handed over to another woman in British political history.

“Since becoming party leader I’ve been working hard to support and develop the talent of women within the Green Party," said Natalie. "It’s really important that we have female voices in both local and national politics so that all views within our society are represented. The Greens have a good mix here in Lancaster and that’s something I’d like to see the other parties work towards. Much of our political culture isn’t very conducive to women’s participation and that’s something our Green MP, Caroline Lucas has been trying to change since she arrived in parliament in 2010.

She continued: “In the European election campaign you have Nick vs Nigel on the TV and UKIP in the European Parliament with a group of nine MEPs – all older white men. I think UK politics could benefit from some different voices being part of the debate.”

The party leader is in the North West region ahead of May’s local and European elections. The Green Party is the fourth largest group in the European Parliament with 58 MEPs, working on issues as diverse as workers' rights, energy, transport, fishing, international development, environmental protection and employment. In 2009 the North West Green Party’s Peter Cranie lost out on a seat in the European Parliament by just 0.3% of the vote. Instead the British National Party’s leader, Nick Griffin, became the region’s MEP. The Greens are hoping to break through this May.

• "What space for a women's agenda in politics in 2014?" TIME: 7.30pm for 7.45pm start, Friends' Meeting House, Lancaster. More info: http://northlancs.greenparty.org.uk

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