The Women’s Leadership Group (WLG) in Liverpool has decided to send a message to members of its regional cabinet about the obvious lack of representation in the British government. In their letter, these women implore their cabinet members, all of whom are men, to reserve a seat for at least one woman. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask for.
Addressing current problems of inequality in their city and promoting diversity within government is the general goal of the WLG; however, it has not gotten the outcome it would like. In response to the disheartening decision to keep the cabinet all male, the WLG wrote, “We expect this from the Tories (the more conservative party). We don’t expect it from Labour – the party of equality. Seven men have decided that none of the hundreds of thousands of Merseyside women are good enough to join them in cabinet.”
The vote always comes down to the votes of the Liverpool city region cabinet and the mayor, Steve Rotheram. The WLG’s letter has reached Rotheram, and while he has claimed that while he would like to help ease their grievances, the issue is out of his hands. The constitution states that the cabinet has to be made up of the six local authority leaders and the chair of the local enterprise partnership, all of whom, at this particular moment, just happen to be men.
Out of the ten Great Manchester Leaders, only one is a woman. Nine of the men, however, did vote to include women as council leaders. The woman they chose is Jean Stretton, and the person she chose as her assistant is a man.
The WLG is a group of strong-willed female businesswomen, politicians, intellectuals, and philanthropists, and their current disappointment in their government runs deep. For these women, this was a chance to revolutionize the constitution to fit a more modern Liverpool, and Rotheram completely wasted it. The gender population breakdown in Liverpool shows that women outnumber men by almost 2:1. The fact that their government does not reflect this is archaic and unacceptable.
Tabitha Morton of WLG, who opposed Rotheram in the mayoral election, said, “This is not just a social and political argument, but also an economic one. Women bring talent to the table and represent 51% of our communities.” She continued, “Not having women on the LCR board is not just a failure to harness the energy and ideas of innovators across the LCR, but it is a failure to recognise the breadth and depth of work that women input into both our social economy and our thriving businesses that holds the LCR communities together.”
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