This weekend ActionAid celebrated International Women's Day in York with the Women Liberal Democrats at their 2014 Spring party conference.
To mark the day we held a panel discussion with Baroness Northover, lead spokesperson in the House of Lords on International Development, Tessa Munt, MP for Wells and aide to Business Secretary Vince Cable, and our own Melanie Ward, Head of Advocacy for ActionAid UK.
Addressing a packed room, Melanie called for more action from the Government to tackle women’s economic inequality. She also acknowledged all the good work being done post the Millenium Development Goals agenda to put an end to female genital mutilation and early marriage.
Championing Women's Economic Equality
Great challenges remain, however, so at the end of this year ActionAid will be launching a new campaign on the next greatest (and very difficult) challenge to reach gender balance: women’s economic inequality.
This will require confronting social and cultural preconceptions in our own countries and societies. Recognising women’s unpaid care work and the barriers to decent work will demand nations which think they are doing well in tackling gender inequality to redouble their efforts.
Involving women in the reconstruction of their future
2014 marks the year British troops are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan. Melanie called for the UK to make sure discussions over the country's future include at least one third of women participants at the negotiating table.
This is a continuation of ActionAid's relentless efforts these past three years to ensure women's full participation in the reconstruction of their future. Last week the issue was debated in Parliament again and Fiona O'Donnell MP wrote a blog strongly supporting women's representation.
Advocacy against Tax Avoidance
Last but not least, ActionAid participated in a competition to submit policy ideas to the Liberal Democrats. Our anti-tax-dodging pitch, which broadly asked the Liberal Democrats to take serious action to tackle tax avoidance, was listened to by the President of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron MP, The Rt Hon David Laws MP, Dr Julian Huppert MP and some of the Deputy Prime Minister's advisers. We hope this is a piece of policy they will pick up as the general election approaches.
That's it from me on the Liberal Democrats Spring Conference 2014.