International Women’s Day: Celebrating Inspiring Women in YF and Beyond

This #IWD2022, Chair of the Young Fabians Laura Cunliffe-Hall celebrates inspiring women within and outside of the Young Fabians.

This International Women’s Day 2022, it’s important to recognise and celebrate the inspiring women that make us who we are today.

As the first woman Chair of the Young Fabians in two years, it is particularly important for me to platform the incredible women across the Young Fabians – their creativity, dedication and understanding of complex policy makes our organisation so much better. 

Being a woman entering into politics is extremely daunting – the support and strength of our YF women, whether in our women’s group chat, socials or through one-to-one connections makes a massive difference.

Women in the Young Fabians empower one another and work together to seek to improve each other’s experiences of politics – enabled through the ‘training ground mentality’ of the Young Fabians as a space to learn, develop and grow in an inclusive, non-factional and vibrant environment.

YF Women – Breaking Down Barriers

Our Women’s Officers Nicki Adeleke and Holly Smith lead by example in seeking to reduce the barriers women and people from protected characteristics face when pursuing their careers within politics through the events they facilitate and support they provide to YF networks, regional and advocacy groups.

 Holly has worked particularly closely with our LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Group to platform intersectional and diverse voices and for YF to be vocal and unwavering in our allyship, particularly to trans+ and non-binary young people. Nicki is running to be a councillor in Ponders End in Enfield in the Local Elections this May and is always so supportive and encouraging to women across YF, working closely with the Fabian Women’s Network (whose Secretary and former YF Women’s Officer Emily Batchelor is another incredible support to YF women).

With Hertfordshire’s youngest ever councillor Tina Bhartwas as our East of England YF Chair, and YF women running for office across the country in the upcoming elections alongside Nicki, we are keen to support women candidates as much as possible and #askhertostand. If you are a YF woman running and haven’t yet been in touch please do let us know!

Our YF theme of the year is ‘what does a Labour Britain look like for young people?’ and as an Executive Committee we are seeking to upskill our members and improve their political education so that we can contribute to the Labour manifesto for the next General Election through our policy contributions. At the heart of this is YF International Chair and former YF Vice Chair Cecilia Jastrzembska – who is co-editing our ‘Gendered Impact of the Pandemic for Women’ pamphlet, working with public speaking platform Pickstar on an IWD campaign and is speaking at a YF-wide roundtable for #IWD2022, Tuesday 8th March 6pm alongside Emma Becirovic, Chair of the YF Communications Network. Sign up here.

This year’s Exec team also consists of YF women whose work keeps us going – our Secretary Hollie Wickens, Treasurer Vic Parrett, Antics Editor Amber Khan, Networks Officer Amy Dwyer, Comms Officer Sarina Kiayani and Parliamentary Liaison Officer Cathleen Clarke, alongside Holly, Nicki and myself. These women give so much to YF and their achievements both inside and outside of YF continue to break down barriers that make it harder for women to get into politics.

YF Celebrates #IWD 2022

This #IWD2022, we are organising events, socials and podcasts throughout March and beyond. We want to make sure we take every opportunity to celebrate incredible women both inside and outside of YF – not just one day!

We want to focus on intersectionality and amplifying the voices of women who have previously been underrepresented in IWD, focusing on discussions that look at women’s issues from a more nuanced perspective.

If you are a woman under 31 interested in getting involved with the work we do in the future, please do get in touch!

Coming up on our blog to celebrate IWD:

Upcoming events, podcasts and campaign imagery will also be featured here on our website and on our social channels – stay tuned for more over this and the coming months!

Looking Around Us

The situation in Ukraine reminds us that as we continue to seek to break barriers and advance the fight for gender equality and women’s rights at home, that we must stand in solidarity with the women and girls in Ukraine facing unspeakable adversity in the toughest of circumstances.

Last year thousands of women marched peacefully through the streets of Kyiv to demand action to advance gender equality. Now, they have been forced to take up arms and defend themselves on multiple fronts – as inspiring Ukranian Marie Claire Editor Iryna Tatarenko outlines here. Their fight is our fight and we must support them in whatever way we can – suggested resources can be found here, here and here.

As outlined in the following statement by the Global Fund for Women, we also acknowledge the existence of various militarized conflicts around the world where women, girls, and gender nonconforming people and marginalized communities continue to bear the brunt of armed conflict.  

Our International Network Chair Cecilia and Outreach and International Officer Panny are organising events and resources on the crisis, including a roundtable on Ukraine Wednesday 9th March at 6pm for a high level overview of developments thus far, and for us to collectively discuss actions we can take to help Ukrainian activists.

Moving forwards, you can also sign up for an exciting International-themed event platforming the women of our friends and colleagues in Europe in the Young European Socialists (YES) here taking place on Wednesday 16 March.

At YF, we seek to amplify women’s voices and help women to #BreaktheBias – as the YF Chair, this #IWD2022 I could not be prouder of the incredible women in our organisation and look forward to continuing to celebrate their work throughout this year.

Laura Cunliffe-Hall is the Chair of the Young Fabians and the Social and Digital Media Lead for the Labour In Communications network. To contact Laura and get involved with the work the Young Fabians are doing for #IWD2022, please email [email protected].

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