Women hold the key.
I was in the Council chamber the day that the IW Council declared a climate emergency. A few things shocked me that day. The first was that there are only 6 women councillors in the chamber. Our chamber is not diverse in age, ethnicity, gender, disability.
There was one authoritative voice that day, moving the critical vote along, and that voice belonged to Julie Jones-Evans. Her tone was serious and assertive. All 6 women voted in favour of that motion.
How can we have a functioning council without diversity? The population of the Island is about 52% women. 1/3rd of the population is of pensionable age or over.
I understand that the council chamber has a toxic reputation. But there is now a different way of really benefiting our communities that doesn’t feel like politics at all. It feels healthy, nurturing, understanding, compassionate and kind. It's all about communities making decisions that affect us collectively. We can change our futures now.
What I'm addressing here is the status quo.
This website is all about reaching equality, about support, and about getting the right people elected, people who care.
With violence against women very much in the media attention, it's perhaps frightening for women to step up. But I've been out there talking to people. My intention was to talk to women, but it was the gentlemen who were incredibly supportive. Men want women to be leaders, they want equality. I also talk about this in my video below.
The Isle of Wight is beautiful and unique. The Isle of Wight is also running IsleVote21 this year, giving all of our unsung community heroes and heroines , the foodbank volunteers, the carers, the Covid heroes, the opportunity to go on to really make substantial improvements for everybody's everyday lives. These men and women are our natural community leaders because they care, they listen, they know what's going on. We have a chance now, it doesn't have to be frightening and it doesn't have to cost anything either.
The last few years have been filled with serendipity, meeting new people that have led to really important friendships. I've had many deep and truthful conversations with so many different people;
with teachers, who don't feel that the curriculum they are currently delivering is adequately preparing our children for their futures
with Police Officers, who have left their jobs because they no longer had time to spend in their communities
with foodbank workers, knowing how our communities
have been affected over the years
with regenerative agriculturalists, with specialists in energy, with conservationists.
They've all been watching what's happening in our environments. All of these people are in our communities. They all have ideas.
I am part of lots of environment campaign groups, and the one common factor, in my experience, is women. Many women do lots of tasks in these groups.
I do all of this for my children, lots of people feel the same as me. It’s our duty to prepare for our collective futures now. By putting into place shared community spaces, allotments, community composting, growing food, local markets, support groups, whatever is needed in our own communities, we are creating a stronger future for our children. We are also learning together, sharing knowledge and making new friendships.
We have the chance to change our collective futures right now. Take your time with this website. Council nominations close on 8th April. Have a think, talk to friends. Share. And be inspired! Climate change can feel debilitating. But we have a chance now. We have to do this.
I love what the Parliament Project have done. They have recognised the fact that there is still inequality in councils, and they offer support to women to reach equality.
Many women have never considered anything political, because it's got a toxic reputation.
But if we change that now, and change how we do things, then we naturally create equality.
Here are a few of the activities I have taken in the last few years;