On International Women’s Day 2018 it is right we recognise the immense contribution of brilliant women to Wales. However, the last 12 months are a stark reminder of how far society still has to go to achieve equality.
There is no doubt that Wales has come a long way on gender equality in recent decades, driven by the commitment, vision and achievements of countless inspirational women.
Wales can be proud the National Assembly for Wales became the first legislature in the world to achieve equal gender representation in 2003, an Assembly that has included numerous talented women.
However, there is no room for complacency. The gender balance in the Assembly has slipped in recent years and Wales is yet to have a female First Minister. Meanwhile, the gender balance of Welsh MPs trails behind the Assembly and the number of female councillors and council leaders is simply not good enough.
Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats commented:
On this day it is important we all reflect on the immense contribution made by women past and present to modern Wales. Whether it’s politics, business, sport, the arts, charity work or beyond, Wales has been blessed with incredible women leading the way in their fields. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are proud of our history of inspirational women, from Megan Lloyd-George to Baroness Randerson and Kirsty Williams.
However, we must recognise that there will be many talented women who haven’t got involved with or have left Welsh politics because it isn’t sufficiently diverse and welcoming. Welsh politics is far worse for their absence. We must reform our political culture and empower women within civic life to improve diversity at every level of Welsh politics and maximise the contribution women make to Welsh politics.
The last 12 months have illustrated how far we are from achieving genuine equality in society. the Me Too campaign has rightly gained plaudits for highlighting the pervasiveness of sexual harassment. it is vital we work across political parties and society to call time’s up on sexual harassment. Only then will we be able to make Wales a safe and equal country in which to live.”