Saturday, 28 June 2014

Mums in Politics.

Yesterday you read about Edward's political activity, now you can read about mine!

There is a huge barrier to politics. It's like a semi-permeable net that only lets certain types of people through easily. The rest have to work very hard to get it. There is a reason why men out number women 4 to 1 in Parliament. The men can dedicate 100% of their time to campaigning and networking in order to get elected. I can't even feel like I should stand for President of the student branch of the Lib Dems at my university as the responsibility of baby, degree and a society is too big. You'll never get anywhere if you aren't on several committees, boards or positions. And you simply can't do that with a baby.

I'm all for the best person for the job, positive discrimination is inefficient. So how do you propose that a woman with a baby start up her political career as effectively as possible? I can't attend a committee meeting at 6pm, that is Edward's bath time. Too much of politics is scheduled in the evenings. Too much of politics is made for those who can spend 24/7 on what they are doing.

I bet there a quite a few people reading this, thinking "if you can't commit 100% to it then you shouldn't being doing it" or "those who commit 100% will do the deserve it better". But politics is about representing the society. Not about who is the best at doing everything. Maybe what the UK needs is a bit of artificial boosting to get the Parliament looking more natural.

There is even a problem with political events within the parties. To attend the York Conference in April, me and my partner spent about £600 across the whole weekend: hotel, train, food, baby things. That is a lot for a student to spend. It's even more for a student parent. God know if we'll be able to make Glasgow Conference as I imagine that'll be far more! Conferences need to be accessible. Especially for the young.

Only visiting - Out on the terrace at Parliament
Why should politicians talk of their desire to make politics more accessible when they won't do that with their own party conferences?

I would love to become an MP one day. I know another dozen or so young Lib Dems who would love it as well. The difference between me and them is that they have the time and the ability to do so. I have something they lack, an experience they don't, that lots of women have: a baby.

I haven't even mentioned the discrimination that mothers face once they finally get into Parliament. And don't get me started on Cathy Newman's article in the Telegraph in January this year!! What I will say, is: please can you do a great favour and sign the petition below. This is just one small way that politics can start to be more accessible to all.

Change.org - Time to get the house in order - shake up PMQs