Our first of what we hope will be many dinners to come began with canapés and sparkling wine being served as we arrived on the steps of St Lukes community centre.
After lots of chatting, meeting friends old and new, and eating the lovely food prepared by Eat16 we got onto the serious business of announcing our priority campaign for West Ham women’s forum: tackling domestic violence.
Our guest speaker, who had been announced as a Dame, Dawn Primarolo MP, talked about her experience of being first elected at age 32 in 1987, her career as a Minister and Deputy Speaker and, for good measure, quoted Tony Benn and one of the leaders of the 1348 Peasants revolt – Johanna Ferrour.
Dawn observed that the Labour party, like most institutions, was built by men for men, and women are still working to make it a party that’s equally for men and women. In answer to a range of questions Dawn predicted that there will be more Labour women MPs in the next Parliament, but probably fewer women Conservative and Lib Dem MPs, and that to reach more women we need to move away from holding meetings in the evenings with agendas and go to where women are.
With many thanks to all the women who organised the event but particularly Seyi, Rania and, of course, Sarah of Eat16.