A Women and Politics event, organised by Burton-on-Trent’s WiRE network, has helped almost 40 working women and guests learn how to get their voice heard on the local and national political stage.
Clare Mullin who is Public Outreach Officer for the Houses of Parliament to the East and West Midlands, ran a two-hour workshop that filled in the basics of how Government and Parliament works in the UK. She went on to explain the many options open to women who had views they wanted to express and issues they wanted to raise.
One of WiRE Burton’s three leaders, Elaine Pritchard, said: “Many of us know that we can write to our MP with any concerns we have – but what if he or she can’t or won’t take up your issue? We learned how to find a member of the House of Lords with expertise or special interest in a particular area and how to contact them. We also explored the power of e-petitions and the important role of Select Committees, and how to get involved.”
The second speaker of the morning was WiRE member Helen Hall, who was recently elected as a councillor on East Staffordshire Borough Council. It was the first time she had stood for election and she shared her story about how and why she got involved and her tips for anyone else considering standing for election or wanting to join the campaign team of a candidate.
Monica Douglas-Clark, director of Burton business Jones and Clark, said: “I learned so much, during this event, about Parliament, Government and how it’s easier than you think to raise issues and get your voice heard. It was a real call-to-action to get involved in local politics. As a business woman from Burton it made me want to speak out about issues that are important for my loved ones, neighbours and the business community. I’ll definitely be signing and starting some petitions and speaking with our MP, Andrew Griffiths. I may even run for a local councillor position in the future. If the objective of the session was to inspire women to be more active in politics it certainly worked for me.”
Everyone who attended took up the offer to be added to the Parliament Outreach mailing list and receive tailored news on their chosen areas of interest. If anyone else would like to join this mailing list, just go to http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/attend-an-event/join-our-mailing-list and complete the online form. The event ended with an open networking buffet lunch at WiRE Burton’s usual venue, the Brewhouse Arts Centre.
WiRE member Karen Kirby, who runs Greenshoot HR, said: “It was a very engaging and informative session. Clare demonstrated how easy it can be to get in contact with Government and Parliament – getting the result you want might not be so easy, but you can be heard.”
Pam Beale, of Mission Accomplished, said: “It is definitely worth listening to Clare Mullin because you learn so much about the workings of Parliament, and feel ashamed that you don’t already know it! She delivers the talk perfectly, with just the right amount of detail and good examples that are relevant to the audience.”
If you are interested in booking a speaker from the Houses of Parliament Outreach Programme to talk to your WiRE group, find out full details of the free workshops available here on the WiRE website.
Pictured, left to right, Lorraine Holden (WiRE Burton leader); Clare Mullin (Parliament outreach officer); WiRE member Councillor Helen Hall; Elaine Pritchard (WiRE Burton leader) and Alison Bradley (WiRE Burton leader).