The Welsh Liberal Democrat approach to gender equality

28th April 2021
Ahead of the Senedd 2021 Elections we approached all the different political parties in Wales for how they champion women in politics. We received responses from the Welsh Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, Welsh Conservatives and Welsh Labour. Here’s the response from the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity.

We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.

We know though that actions need to speak louder that words.

As a party we have championed gender equality, we were the first party in Wales to have elected a female leader – Kirsty Williams and 13 years on from her election we are the only party today to have a female leader in Wales Jane Dodds. Three of our five lead regional candidates are also female.

In Westminster it was Liberal Democrats who championed and then legislated to introduce shared parental leave and in Wales it was the Liberal Democrat Education Minister Kirsty Williams who ensured the new Welsh curriculum includes a commitment that leaners will develop an understanding of how rights related to sex, gender, sexuality and relationships contribute to the freedom, equity, dignity, well-being and safety of all people. Central to this learning will be an understanding of the opportunities and challenges people face in exercising their rights across the world.

Looking forward we want to build a Wales, and indeed a world, where men and women are treated equally, sadly that won’t happen overnight and doubly sadly it’ll probably take more than five years.

Our 2021 manifesto will include pledges to ensure a more equal Wales, including pledges to:

  • Deliver the full recommendations in the Gender Equality review to achieve a fundamental shift in policy, budgeting, procurement and commissioning.
  • Ensure the regular reporting of sexual harassment and hate crimes motivated by mysoginy and ensure that Police and Crime Commissioners act upon them.
  • Ensure that the duty on public services to Ask and Act in relation to violence against women and girls is used and embedded across our communities, including the private sector such as hotels and night clubs.
  • Increase funding for services for victims of hate crimes, including those allowing third party reporting, with the aim of expanding current provision and provide those who are reluctant to approach the police with wider options.

We also know that the Welsh Senedd and Welsh councils needs to better represent Wales, and we are committed to improving the diversity of our politics. Whilst progress towards gender balance in the Senedd is laudable, it is fragile. The representation of women in local government trails significantly behind the Senedd. We will

  • Introduce a programme of Citizens’ Assemblies, tasked with understanding, agreeing, and shaping recommendations and actions to tackle the big issues facing our country in the years ahead. This could include social care funding, the climate emergency, and public spending.
  • Ensure sufficient funding for programmes which support people not traditionally represented in politics to access public office, including tackling harassment, bullying, and discrimination in public life.