Tomorrow is the Labour Party’s Women’s Conference, and so I am writing this column to welcome Labour Women to Brighton and Hove.
As Labour women arrive here for conference, they can be proud to know that there is a gender-balanced Labour administration running the city’s council.
I am really proud to be a Labour woman serving on an administration where more than half of the senior posts are held by women, with a female deputy leader, with women chairing three of our major policy committees, and chairing both our regulatory committees.
We also have a female lead member for adult social care and three women lead members for administration priorities – rough sleeping, private rented sector and mental health. This is as things should be, and is a commitment our team, made when we put ourselves forward for election in May 2015.
We have a long way to go to be as fully representative of our local residents as we would like to be, but we have ensured women’s voices are strong on the council. We call on all parties, whether in administration or opposition, whether in this city or across the country, to challenge themselves to achieve gender balance.
I believe gender equality has made a difference to our decision making. In one example, we have consistently protected spend on services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, which other councils have struggled to do in the face of huge Tory cuts to local government. Not only that, but we have responded to the hugely increased demand those services are experiencing; we allocated an additional £50,000 at the last policy and resources committee.
So welcome to Brighton and Hove and I hope you enjoy conference. I will be working with Cllr Roxanne Ellis from Nottingham on a fringe even at Brighton Oasis Project called The Women’s Quilt.
Cllr Ellis organised this project, which remembers nearly 600 murdered women in this country – murdered by their partners or ex partners. I sewed four squares in their memory, and this is the first time I will see the whole quilt. Find out more on Twitter, @thewomensquilt.
Cllr Emma Daniel is a Labour councillor and the lead member for equalities on Brighton & Hove City Council.