This year the theme of International Women’s Day is “Choose to Challenge”. More than half of the Labour candidates standing in the local elections in May are women, choosing to challenge the stereotype that the UK average councillor is 59, white, male (and called David or John).
Exeter Labour is leading the way in representing gender equality in local government candidates. Some are experienced councillors while others are standing for the first time but many are pictured here raising their hands in support of IWD to show that they commit to choose to challenge and call out inequality.
This diverse group of local women also bring a range of experience and perspectives and includes scientists, union officials, former civil servants, lawyers, teachers, NHS workers, a human rights charity manager and a journalist and writer.
Zion Lights, Labour City Council candidate for Pennsylvania is a science communicator and environmental journalist has been described as ‘Britain’s greenest mother’ by the Daily Telegraph and an ‘eco-pragmatist’ by The Guardian.
As well as campaigning to challenge climate change and building on the positive steps made by Labour run Exeter City Council, Zion is also committed to championing gender equality and celebrating women’s achievements.
Yvonne Atkinson, currently Labour City Councillor and re-standing as Devon County Councillor is also co-ordinator of the Exeter Fawcett society, said:
“There has been a huge impact on women during this crisis and a recent report by the Commons Women’s Equality Committee has highlighted that policies during the pandemic have ignored and even exacerbated gender equality.
It is important we continue to choose to challenge the position and fight for equality as it is not just good for women, it is good for our economy and all of society.”
Helen Dallimore, Labour selected County Council candidate for Topsham and Wearside, is an employment lawyer and diversity and inclusion trainer added:
“It is great that so many women are standing in these elections. However, there still many barriers to be removed to encourage more women to get involved in politics and fight for positive change. The fact that we have only just had a law to enable female cabinet ministers (and not back benchers) to take paid maternity leave shows how much more needs to be done.”
EMBARGOED until 8th March 2021
This as an article on Exeter Labour Party Website
Attached photograph of Exeter women standing for election
International Women’s Day 2021 website
The Fawcett Society website