Ever feel like your voice doesn’t matter? That the political system isn’t for you?
Why not try this particular period of time! With added women, LGBT rights and constitutional debate, this political culture may be for you. Hurry, while stocks last!
Ok so that might be overselling it-watered down minority rights anyone? But there are and have been and will be massive changes in politics. Maybe.
It’s a maybe because what makes these changes happen, and translate into foundation shaking, paradigm shifting, culturally important moments is, surprise surprise, people!
It always cracks me up when folk are all “ooh things are different now for [insert minoritised group]” as if one) my bad, inequalities fixed, let’s just pack up and go home to our post racial, post sexual, post gender utopias then, and two) yes, because change is like the wind, it just happens. Nuh uh dude.
People made it happen, bro. People. People stuck their head above the parapet and thought and fought about an alternative way of doing things. Sometimes they won, sometimes they lost, sometimes they compromised. But, it made a difference. Somewhere, to someone.
I’m a member of the Women’s Equality Party precisely because of this, because I can do it, and I feel like I should. I’ve written else where about the complications of organising in this way, but I’m willing to give it a go, and be part of those conversations. I’m part of the violence against women and girls policy group, and we’re feeding into chats about equal pay. Policies are developing and tactics are emerging and it is exciting. In fact, we’re having an open discussion about equal pay in the next few weeks with anyone who fancies it, so tell us what you think we should do about it then.
Of course, structural and institutional racism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty and sexism do not disappear because we want it to. If minoritised groups had the power to break these systems down, then of course, we really would be living in a feminist utopia. It is a long haul. And it is a fight. BUT I strongly believe that as these systems were built, we can shake them up. We could even revolutionise them (<— I know right?! But really we could. I think…… Who knows, but let’s try)
I have the capacity and the privilege to get stuck in to politics, and not nearly every woman does. I’m not going to bang on that because at some point my family were working class, I therefore understand the struggles of all women- cos that would be ridiculous, but I am driven by the experiences of women I know and love.
My nan was one of the best women to ever live, and to steal a quote from George Clooney (amen to him) “for those who didn’t know her, I offer my deepest sympathies.” She worked all her life-in a cafe, in a pub, as a cleaner, as a mum, as a nan. She was pregnant at 15. She had been poor. She was a matriarch. She was busy and also ballsy. She sort of fancied my partner which was ok because that’s the type of woman she was. She did not mess about.
She told me to keep stirring the pot and to do all the things she didn’t have the time to do what with raising her loud, massive and sometimes complicated family. So here I am, doing that, repping hard for all women. If you can’t get involved, I want to rep for you too. I want to shut up and listen and learn from you, I want to make sure your voice is heard. I want this potentially new and potentially exciting period of politics to mean something-and do something-for you too.
And if you can get involved, well.. What are you waiting for… Whether it’s women 50:50, Women’s Equality Party, mainstream or outsider politics, local or global activism or any other political movement that’s available – if you can- do. We need you.