West Ham Women’s Forum Councillor Training and AGM

By Genevie Kitchen

IMG_20170306_224545.jpgOn Monday, West Ham women gathered to boost the sisterhood for the 2018 local government elections. It was so wonderful to see a group of women from all walks of life dedicated to making West Ham better. Despite Monday being match day, the West Ham Labour HQ was full of bright, bubbly and brave women who brought snacks and heaters for the evening.
The training and AGM was hosted by the amazing Councillor Seyi Imoleayo Akiwowo, who chaired the discussions and helped us understand what being a Local Councillor really meant. We were asked what we wanted to improve in Newham and why we should stand. Councillors from all over Newham (including Cllr Charlene Mclean, Cllr Rachel Tripp, Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz, Cllr Veronica Oakeshott, Cllr Aleen Alarice, Cllr Anne Easter and Cllr Julianne Marriott) all gave inspiring talks about their day to day work and getting through the selection process.
The network was really welcoming and supportive. The group was full of positive strong women who are focused on making a difference. If we learnt one thing it is that people are really passionate about parking, especially on Match day!
After the training Seyi chaired the AGM. As Seyi is stepping down from being Chair of West Ham Women’s Forum, the new team would like to thank her for all of her hard work. We look forward to picking up where she left off, and we hope to do a great job in the next year.
The new team is:
Vice Chair – Nareser Osei
Secretary – Genevieve Kitchen
Treasurer – Khadiza Naseem
Campaigns Fundraiser and Branch Organiser – Cllr Veronica Oakeshott
GC Delegates – Rachel Tripp and Jane Lofthouse
EC Delegate – Cllr Rachel Tripp

We need more women involved in the local party

As your Women’s Officer it is part of my responsibility to continue encouraging gender equality in the CLP as well as encourage sisters to be more active in the party whether that’s coming out campaigning, attending branch and CLP meetings or standing for positions. We have seen a significant improvement in local women’s involvement in the party but there is always more we can do. 

Over the next few weeks branches, forums and affiliated groups will be holding an Annual General Meeting. This is an opportunity to:
1)  elect branch/forum officers
2) elect your delegates to the General Committee (basically the local party) 
3) nominate officers for West Ham Constituency Party. 
All positions are up for elections. If you haven’t been notified of your AGM yet please let me know and I can put you in touch with the secretary.
 
Branch/Forum  Officer Positions
There are four positions and at least two of the officers shall be women. There is no reason why job share can’t be introduced if you have caring responsibilities.
  • Branch Chair
  • Branch Vice-Chair- in West Ham Ward we had two lovely female members job share this position 
  • Branch Secretary
  • Branch Treasurer
  • Branch Organiser – for organising campaigning and leafletting sessions. This is going to be a key position in helping us retain our Labour majority in Newham council

General Committee Delegate (GC) Positions:

The GC plans and coordinates our local Labour activity and meets on the 4th Thursday of the month. All party members are welcome to attend, but only delegates are able to vote on issues put to the GC.

The Secretary is automatically a delegate, plus one man and one woman per 25 members or part thereof.

Executive Committee Delegate (EC) Positions:

One position amongst GC delegates

Nominations for West Ham West Ham CLP position

  • CLP Chair
  • CLP Vice Chair of Campaigns
  • CLP Vice Chair of Membership
  • CLP Secretary 
  • CLP Treasurer
  • CLP Women’s Officer  
  • Community Involvement Coordinator 
  • Trade Union Liaison Coordinator 
  • Political Education & Training Coordinator 
  • Equalities Coordinator 
  • Fund Raising Coordinator 
  • Information Technology Coordinator 
  • Local Campaign Forum delegates (10 positions) 

Forum/Affiliated Groups to the CLP

All Forums and Affiliated groups will follow a similar election as above. Holding an election for:

Forum Officer positions

Two GC delegates and one EC delegate

Nominating members to West Ham CLP positions

  • West Ham Women’s Forum – AGM to be held Monday 6th March, 7:45pm, 306 Stratford High Street. 
  • West Ham Youth Forum- AGM (pencilled in for) Thursday 16th February 6pm, 306 Stratford High Street.
  • Trade Unions– Please contact either your local trade union officer or  Kim Silvers the Trade Union Liaison for more information.

Socialist Affiliated Groups 

  • Fabians– Rohit Dasgupta, Secretary to announce AGM date.
  • Christians on the Left– Clive Furness, Secretary to announce AGM date.

In Sisterhood,

Seyi

West Ham Women’s Officer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 tips for Labour Women interested in standing as a councillor

West Women’s Forum really want to continue encouraging as many women to apply to stand as a local Councillor in the 2018 elections. The selection process will start sometime this year so we’ve penciled in a training and information day for those that are interested. Please save the afternoon of Sunday 26th February in your diaries, children are welcome! I’ve set up a Facebook group support group, please join here.
For the meantime for those interested or thinking about applying to be a councillor. Cllr Rachel Tripp and I have put together some advice and things you should consider.
1) Get active in the party- whenever there’s a date to go out campaigning stick it in your diary, attend branch and General Committee meetings (observers at our General Committee meeting are welcome!)
2) If you can’t make campaigning or meeting dates see if there is anything you can do. Julianne, CLP Vice-Chair of Campaigns and Communications regularly sends out campaigning dates, email her back to see what else you can do, maybe phone canvass or leafleting in your own time. You can also email the chair of your branch too.
In 2013 I was working in Brussels so I couldn’t make a lot of meetings, I volunteered to set up and manage my branch’s social media account to help me stay involved and advertise key dates and news.
3) Make sure Julianne’s fantastic emails are not going to your junk mail!
4) Have a think about getting on social media? Twitter? Facebook?
5) Coffees dates!  Don’t be afraid to ask your local branch chair or local Councillors for coffee! Ask questions and network.
6) It might be a bit embarrassing to put yourself forward but we need people like you! We really do! And there is nothing wrong with saying you’re interested in standing then changing your mind.
7) Find out more about what Newham council does. www.newham.gov.uk is a good place to start. A lot of council meetings are public too!
8) “Ask her”: Think of someone you think would be a good Councillor and invite them along to the training day on 26th February and to the Facebook group. The overall aim is to get as many female councillor candidates as possible, help pay this encouragement forward.
9) Find yourself a cheerleader, it could be a partner or a loved one. For many of the 2014 crew it was our fantastic MP Lyn Brown that cheered us on. I know a lot of the current councillors would gladly be your cheerleader.

Seema Malhotra MP: Labour and economic credibility

by Cllr Seyi Akiwowo

West Ham Labour Women’s Forum Open Discussion evening with Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Seema Malhotra MP: How does Labour gain economic credibility with the British public and by when?

  • What is Corbynomics and could it work? How radical is it in reality, and does it stack up as a practical plan for creating economic growth?
  • How will we encourage economic empowerment of women entrepreneurship?
  • How are we as a party developing our policies and policy positions for a very important Party Conference in 2018?
  • What is the Labour Party’s vision of a 21st Century Welfare State?
  • What is the Labour Party’s vision of UK Technology and digital infrastructure?
  •  What is Labour’s response to local government budget cuts.

The discussion evening will be an Seema Maholtra MPopen event to ALL members  of the Labour party, supporters and friends in East London (all males are welcome).

The aim of the event is to hear what Labour’s plans are to build economic credibility among the British public before 2020 from a senior member of the party.

Yes we can!

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Words by Veronica Oakeshott

An inspiring women’s evening with East End Girl and Deputy Speaker, Dawn Primarolo MP

On 18 June the West Ham Women’s Forum held our first fundraising dinner, with special guest Dame Dawn Primarolo MP, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.

West Ham MP, Lyn Brown, who attended described the dinner as ‘not only a chance for a natter – but something more important. A chance to support each other and be inspired by our collective potential.’

The dinner, held in the lovely Eat16 – an atmospheric converted church in Canning Town – was attended by 30 women from across the Borough and beyond.

Eat16 is run by Women’s Forum member, Sarah Ruiz. Sarah provided us with a simple, high quality dinner, helping us to raise about £140 for the women’s forum.

Dawn Primarolo, a former East End girl, recently turned ‘Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE)’, for political service to the nation, was the perfect speaker for the occasion. Selected as a PPC whilst a single parent (much to the outrage of her competitors) she has never let her gender hold her back.

“The more they tell me I can’t do something, the more I am determined to prove I can.” she told us.

That can-do attitude won her the role of Minister in various Departments in the Labour government, including, notably, Paymaster General, a Treasury role more commonly inhabited by men.

The dinner was also a chance to announce the result of the vote on the priority issue for the Women’s Forum’s campaigning. Tackling domestic violence was the clear winner. Thanks to previous work by the Forum, the Mayor has pledged to make progress on domestic violence and the Women’s Forum will monitor this pledge and make our own contributions where we can.

In what is becoming a tradition of international sisterly solidarity, West Ham Women’s Forum are also proud to have raised £30 for the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign.

Many thanks go to Dawn Primarolo for her fantastic speech, Sarah Ruiz for the delicious dinner and the Chair, Seyi Akiwowo and our Youth Officer, Rania, who shouldered much of the event organisation.

Women’s Forum

by Seyi Akiwowo

As chair of West Ham Labour Women’s Forum, I would first like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has bought tickets to our inaugural fundraising dinner with Dame Dawn Primarolo MP (Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons) and Lyn Brown MP (Shadow Minister for Communities) on Weds 18 June. As a Women’s Forum we are committed to ensuring that women in West Ham have the skills and support necessary in order to be able to achieve the same level of success as our male counterparts. 

We are therefore very pleased to have been able to get the following commitments into the Newham Labour manifesto:

  • Domestic violence against women
  • Free English classes for the women who do not have it as their first  languag
  • Free cancer screening for women

The Women’s Forum are currently voting on which one of these commitments should be our focus for the next two years and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Common will announce the winning campaign on the night.

We also plan to donate a percentage of funds raised on the night to the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign in order to support our sisters in Nigeria.

Here is some more information about the fundraising dinner and please feel free to contact either myself or our Women’s Forum Treasurer Rania if you would like to purchase a ticket.

Seyi Akiwowo

West Ham Women’s Officer

West Ham marks International Women’s Day in style with Lyn Brown MP

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West Ham Labour Women marks International Women’s Day in style with Lyn Brown MP

Words by Veronica Oakeshott, Executive member of the West Ham Women’s Forum.

West Ham Labour Women’s Forum celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th with a ‘Wonderland’ of stalls and activities at Vicarage Lane, and a successful fundraiser for our sisters affected by the war in Syria.

Women’s wonderland was primarily a chance for West Ham women to enjoy each others’ company – but it also showcased Labour values to women outside the party, some of whom have since shown an interest in joining. With stalls covering issues from health, to domestic violence prevention, to the launch of a new book club, West Ham women demonstrated that we can do far more than bake a good cake (though there were many of those).

Over 60 women attended, and together we raised £165 for the ongoing work of the Women’s Forum and £103 for the International Rescue Committee, the charity run by David Miliband.

The Forum was delighted to welcome Lyn Brown MP to the event as a special guest. Women’s Wonderland was a thoroughly successful day and the feedback from the attendees could be summed up as “more please! And if possible bigger”. If you’d tried one of those cupcakes, you’d be saying the same!

Special thanks go to Seyi Akiwowo our West Ham Women’s Officer, all the West Ham Labour women volunteers, The Sheba Project, Skills Rethink, the Forest Gate WI, Pure Beauty, Healthwatch and Newham Domestic Violence Prevention for a successful day.

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West Ham Labour Women shares their ideas for the Newham Labour Manifesto

On Tuesday 25th February, West Ham Labour women invited Sir Robin Wales to a meeting with the West Ham Labour Women’s Forum to hear our ideas for the Newham Labour Manifesto.

At this meeting the WH Labour Women set out a series of key issues, as articulated by women through a consultation by West Ham CLP Women’s Forum in February 2014. West Ham Women’s Forum welcomes the opportunity to work with the Labour Mayoral Candidate, alongside East Ham CLP Women’s Group, to ensure that gender equality remains a central plank in achieving tangible and positive outcomes under the Resilience Agenda for the full diversity of women in Newham. West Ham Labour Women will continue to meet and consult with women groups in Newham and will produce a document outlining the process and our key proposals in the very near future- so stay tuned =)

In Sisterhood,

Seyi Akiwowo

West Ham Women’s Officer

Only 7 days to go! #WHIWD14

Words by Seyi & Charlene.
IWD Promo 3

We are really looking forward to celebrating International Women’s Day with other Labour women, friends and neighbours in Newham next Saturday. International Women’s Day will be commemorated at UN headquarters in New York on the 7 March, on the eve of the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which begins on 10 March. Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. It has become an annual rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the social, political and economic arenas.

Crucially, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. Newham itself has a strong and proud history of Labour women pushing for equality, progress and proportionality in leadership positions. It includes Susan Lawrence, the first Labour MP elected in 1923 for what was then known as East Ham North, and one of the first three female Labour MPs ever elected; and Daisy Parsons MBE, an ardent suffragette supporting the right for women to vote and who was elected the first female Mayor for West Ham in 1936.

The Women’s Wonderland will continue this legacy by celebrating the strong women in our community who are mothers, carers, leaders and providing that space for women to have their say on local political priorities and also discover some of the local volunteering opportunities in the community.

It’s completely free and you don’t have to be political. You can come for a facial or a massage and a cup of tea. You can also join our book club and find out more about the Labour Party. Most of all, this is just a chance to have some fun.There will be a kids corner with face-painting and free health advice from professionals from Queen Mary University. The health team will be raising awareness about various forms of cancer and how to spot early signs.

“There is no better place to celebrate International Women’s Day than West Ham”, said Labour MP, Lyn Brown. “We have women from all over the world here, and they bring a stunning array of skills which will be on offer on 8th March – whether its Indian Head Massage or cooking masterclasses. I’m also proud of how our West Ham women contribute to the community by running charities, acting as school governors and helping to make our borough a better place. This event is a celebration of them. ”

WH Labour Women’s Forum will also be taking the opportunity of the event to raise money for women affected by the Syrian crisis. Local Labour Party member, Veronica Oakeshott said “It is our way of showing solidarity with our sisters from Syria, many of whom are living in dire conditions in neighbouring countries, without their husbands and brothers. We hope a gift from West Ham’s women will be a reminder that they haven’t been forgotten.”

Women’s Wonderland will be held on 8th March from 1-4pm at Vicarage Lane Community Centre. No entrance ticket is needed.

In Sisterhood,

Seyi Akiwowo, West Ham Labour Women’s Officer & Charlene McLean Chair of West Ham CLP

East Ham Women’s Forum 31 Jan

Our comrades in East Ham have invited West Ham women to their meeting.

It’s an informal meeting to discuss the formation of an East Ham women’s section and to explore and debate ‘women’s role in elections’ and is there a ‘women’s vote?’.

Speakers:
Anita Pollack, former MEP
Kirsty McNeil, former Prime Ministerial aide to Gordon Brown and member of the executive committee of the Labour women’s network
Seyi Akiwowo, West Ham CLP’s women’s officer
and special guest speaker – Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham

When: Friday 31st January, 7-9pm
Where: Lister room, East Ham town hall

It promises to be a lively, fun evening full of insight, shared experiences, networking, seeing old friends and making new ones!

For more information and to RSVP: Please contact Farah Nazeer at farahnazeerlabour@gmail.com

Organised by: Cllrs Farah Nazeer, Kay Scorsby, Ayesha Chowdhury, Lakmini Shah, Feroza Nekiwala, and Labour party members Anita Pollack, Gloria Hanson, Pushpa Makwana, Sue Masters and Rokhsana Fiaz.