And we’re launched. After a fantastic day in the sunshine, we can say that Hastings and Rye CLP most definitely has a women’s forum and it is going places.
The serious bit
We asked Kiri Tunks and Philipa Harvey of the National Education Union to tell us about the problems girls were facing, and what we needed to tackle to help the up-coming generation of young women. They told us about these four reports…
… and about how schools desperately need to implement the kind of training, and properly planned and regulated education, to deal with issues such as sexism and misogyny, to make STEM and higher education a better bet for girls.
And we heard from egg tooth about a project that’s been running in schools around Hastings for some time, trying to put back the kind of creative and communicative experiences children and young people need.
Women’s forum Chair and CLP Women’s Officer Gill Knight says:
The launch provided stimulating speakers and plenty of discussions about issues that girls and women face today. They give us a good basis for our future campaigns, discussion groups and how LWF can have a greater voice within our CLP and communities.
Women’s forum Treasurer and Councillor Tania Charman says:
It was great to have Lilly and Laura [of egg tooth] at the Launch and hear about their project. I am involved personally in the GAP Project, Growing young entrepreneurs, delivering Make Create and Build workshop, it would be wonderful if we could find the funds to do some work around stereotypes and behaviours with young people, resetting what is and is not acceptable, and also buy in some specialist advice in sessions around behaviours our disadvantaged Young people often display.
Life is a challenge for young people locally and being aware of services such as these is vital if working in the community. It is fabulous to have such skilled and dedicated provision in Hastings.
The performance bit
Penny Pepper’s poetry performance was brilliant, as ever. I bought a copy of Penny’s Come Home Alive, which I read in one eager sitting when I got home, so here is a review of the book and the performance.
Women’s forum Secretary Jan Ayton says:
Alice Denny’s set was absolutely appropriate for the launch of the women’s forum. Alice’s spoken word poetry focused around her transgenderism highlighting the issues and prejudice that she had and has to face. Alice’s story told in prose was very moving but she also achieved a sense of humour.
The local politics bit
We heard from HBC councillors Tania Charman and Leah Levane about the experience of being a woman councillor, and some of the issues they work on in Hastings, and also from Leah and Andy Batsford on housing issues.
The social bit
We also raffled the raffle, ate the cakes, drank the drinks, soaked up sunshine in the garden and talked and talked and talked. Our visitors ranged from Hastings Mayor Nigel Sinden to women from Eastbourne CLP women’s forum.
Well done, all! … and this is just the start. Whether you’re looking for the social stuff (we had some amazing discussions, lots of laughs and excellent food and drink) or networking (as well as local women meeting each other, we intend to do a lot more politics with women from neighbouring CLPs) or activism (plans were being discussed for the council elections, anti-austerity, climate-crisis action and a possibly-quite-soon general election campaign) … whatever you want from a women’s forum, there is room for it in Hastings & Rye Labour Women’s Forum.