You never know where life may take you, but if you are open to possibilities and invite them in it may become more interesting than you ever imagined.
When I left school a friend described me as “a girl that writes her own destiny”. I didn’t imagine that destiny leading me into the world of politics, but the encouragement of 50:50 Parliament and a belief in women everywhere has led me to stand as a local Labour councillor in 2019.
“I will miss this when it is all over.”Rachel Massey, campaigning in 2018
I have been on a whirlwind tour of politics since my first encounter with a Labour women’s forum where I discovered we needed more women to stand as councillors.
I honestly didn’t know that women were not fully represented in our Councils and in Parliament, in fact I had never considered it to be a problem until my local women’s officer started a ‘Shadow a Councillor’ program to encourage recruitment.
I won’t lie, a man was the catalyst that propelled me into local politics. As a dedicated political activist he felt that I would make a real difference to our community and do so with more patience and compassion than himself. He helped me realise that I didn’t need instructions just directions on how to achieve my full potential.
After the initial Labour Women’s forum I helped to run a local election campaign for a male candidate as an election agent’s assistant, and doorstepped in various wards in my home town. As an anthropologist I saw the progressions of a campaign through the eyes of a woman and not the priorities of a man.
During the last local elections, on 3 May 2018, I stood for 9 hours in a red dress at my local Polling Station as I wanted to stand loud and proud to represent Labour and our candidate. The mother of the opposition candidate asked if I was crazy and had no life, but elated I replied, “I will miss this when it is all over”.
This year I have been selected by the members of my local branch to stand and fight for the residents in my home town in the next local elections on 2 May 2019. I love where I live and look forward to being a voice as a Councillor for Spotland and Falinge in Rochdale. I’ve answered the call to stand, will you stand with me?
Women everywhere possess limitless strength, confidence and the capabilities to make a difference in the world, be it local, national or international. However, we all need a little help along the way. This is where Frances Scott, founder of 50:50 Parliament and the #AskHertoStand campaign has triumphed in helping women realise their own potential in a male dominated society.
I met Frances at the #AskHertoStand Day in Parliament on 21 November 2018. 50:50 parliament helped to spark my desire to want better not just for my children and community but for all children and families where I live and beyond.
You can make a stand too by signing up to stand on the 50:50 website at #SignUpToStand (https://5050parliament.co.uk/signuptostand/). I had never heard of Frances before this event but was in awe of her dedication and call to action from women across the UK.
My belief is that men always seem to have their foot on the gas, whereas women are a little more cautious in their approach. We forget we have a voice and that more importantly, it is worth hearing.
Not anymore. As I learned from the female MPs I met last November, women are prepared to stand together, cross party lines, and make strides towards a union of people, peace and prosperity.
“Women are like a tea bag. You never know how strong
they are until you put her in hot water!”Mayoress of Rochdale
As a candidate, I can see there are challenges, such as time management, and other obligations. I have two small children and a business to run and still do not know how I fit everything into each day. As a result I now drink more tea!
And as the Mayoress of Rochdale tells me, this is significant because women are like a tea bag, you never know how strong they are until you put her in hot water.
Resilience, patience, drive and ambition are necessary qualities when considering if this is for you. I would urge all women to look deep into their souls, know that you have the ability to make a world of difference to the world we live in, be confident, and STAND as a candidate. You will not regret it and be assured you are not alone, support is out there.
Spotland and Falinge Labour Candidate 2019