Tag Archives: campaign-for-gender-balance

Blog Awards – I am the law!

Judge Graham badgeI enjoyed being a judge so much for the ERS blog awards earlier this year I decided I might try my hand again.

This time I’m to be the token male for the inaugural Campaign for Gender Balance Blog Awards.

I’m not going to express my own views about who I think should be nominated here as it obviously would be appallingly inappropriate. What I can do however is start a meme, in time honoured blog tradition.

This meme is very simple and largely based on the nominations process. Tagged bloggers are asked to do the following:

  1. Provide a link to the Gender Balance website (http://genderbalance.org.uk/pages/awards.html) and encourage as many people as possible to submit their nominations that way.
  2. Suggest THREE Blogs that should be nominated for in the Best Blog by a Woman Lib Dem category, and state why.
  3. Suggest THREE blog posts that should be nominated for the Best Blog Post By a Woman Lib Dem category, and state why.
  4. Suggest THREE Blogs that should be nominated for in the Best Blog by a Woman Non-Lib Dem category, and state why.
  5. Name THREE living women you would like to see blog, and state why. These can be women from any walk of life, not just Lib Dems (although that doesn’t mean they can’t be).
  6. Tag five other bloggers you would like to do the meme.

I can do the last bit at least, and nominate:

Tag! Of course, anyone else reading this is more than welcome – in fact encouraged – to do the meme themselves.

48 hours, £2,000? No sweat!

Supporting Gender BalanceAt midnight this Thursday, the deadline by which the various Campaign for Gender Balance pledges have to have reached their targets expires. Thus far, we’ve reached 60% of our target and more than £3,000, but need 19 more people to sign up in order to hit our target. Will you be one of them?

The Campaign for Gender Balance, formerly known as the Gender Balance Task Force, has made a tremendous impact over the last 5 years not just in terms of nudging us forward in terms of the number of women candidates in winnable seats, but in terms of their quality. It’s been good at cultivating a “can do” attitude amongst female candidates at a time when, frankly, a lot of people who claim to be interested in seeing more women in Parliament tend to carp by the sidelines and promote a defeatist attitude. The principle behind it is simple: overall, while no-one questions there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of sexism amongst local parties, the fundamental problem the party has in terms of gender balance is that we don’t have enough women prepared to put their names forward. It is a supply-side problem. CGB helps this by going out and encouraging women to put their names forward and provide them with training, mentoring and support.

Could it do more? Yes, lots. It has, however, always been hampered by a lack of funds. Indeed this year, despite the party getting a £200,000 donation for a diversity fund, it has had its funding cut in favour of an alternative approach of encouraging more female and BME candidates by offering seats greater resources if they select one. The jury is out on whether this approach will work (I personally have major qualms with it, both in principle and in practice), but either way there remains a place for CGB.

So, rather than moan about grant cuts, it was decided to go out and do something positive and develop a support fund that is independent of the party and thus less subject to the vagaries of party committees. This is where you come in. While not everyone can afford a fiver a month, most of us can. So how about it?

For me, this is a test, and not just a personal one (as trying to raise 5 grand in this way was my idea in the first place – and yes, I am putting my money where my mouth is). There are lots of projects out there that the party needs to do, but which consistently fail to get funding from the party centrally. While I have been known to occasionally whinge about this fact, and I really do think that overall the party’s priorities are skewed too much towards the target seat campaign (a debate for another time), the bottom line is there are only so many ways you can cut the cake. Projects like this really do need to be self-financing to as great an extent as possible. But is there enough residual goodwill out there to make this possible? We don’t have the same sort of giving culture that is taken for granted to the US, but if UK politics is to survive, we need to cultivate one.