Our Women Win Elections! Fawcett Conference took place on Saturday 14th Oct 2023 to a sell out audience.

We were thrilled to welcome so many members and new-comers to our annual conference and AGM which took place at King's House in London.

The conference focused on the key issues that matter to women over the next eighteen months, including childcare, flexible working, getting more women and more diverse voices into politics and fighting the culture of misogyny that underpins it all. We held sessions which supported women to engage with the democratic process, spotlighting women and organisations who have had grassroots campaigning success and discussed how all women can make their voices heard at the next General Election.

The conference featured the following exciting speakers:

A welcome speech from new Fawcett Chair Harriet Harman MP and Fawcett CEO Jemima Olchawski 

  • Anneliese Dodds MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities 
  • Stella Creasy MP, Member for Walthamstow
  • Mandu Reid, Leader, Women's Equality Party
  • Wanda Wyporska, CEO, Black Equity Organisation
  • Shabna Begum, Co-CEO, Runnymede Trust
  • Jo Swinson CBE, Former Leader of the Liberal Democrats and author
  • Sonia Khan, Former political advisor, UK Associate Director in Public Affairs, H/Advisors Cicero
  • Neelam Rose, Advocacy Officer, Muslim Women's Network 
  • Jane van Zyl, CEO, Working Families  
  • Evelyn James, Campaigns Manager, Women's Equality Network, Wales 
  • Tulip Siddiq MP, Member for Hampstead and Kilburn
  • Helen Donohoe, CEO Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) 
  • Lauren Fabianski, Head of Campaigns and Communications, Pregnant Then Screwed
  • Abby Jitendra, Principal Policy Advisor, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Dr Zubaida Haque, Deputy Director and Head of Research and Policy, UK Women's Budget Group
  • Phoebe Arslanagic-Wakefield, Chair and founder of the Women in Think Tanks Forum, Co Director of BOOM
  • Rosie Campbell,  Professor of Politics and Director of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership
  • Tori Peck, Co-Director, Women2Win    
  • Cllr Hannah Perkin, Liberal Democrat Group Leader
  • Kate Maltby, Critic, Columnist and Cultural Historian 
  • Shukria Barakzai, Feminist and Political Leader, Editor and former MP of Kabul 
  • Hina Bokhari, Liberal Democrat Assembly Member

The full programme from the day is below:

AGM - 10.00am

Women Win Elections! Conference - 11.00am

Main room

11.10am: Welcome address with Jemima Olchawski (CEO, Fawcett Society) and Harriet Harman MP (Chair, Fawcett Society)

11.20am: Solidarity with the women of Afghanistan with Shukria Barakzai (Feminist, Political Leader, Editor and former MP of Kabul)

Why Women Win Elections! (11.45am to 12.45pm)

Any party that wants to win the next general election must put women at the heart of its platform. The government's commitment to childcare reform in this year's Spring Budget shows that the issues that matter to women are now firmly on the election agenda. So, why are women voters so critical to a win? This panel explores why and how women will win this election.

With Prof. Rosie Campbell (Professor of Politics and Director of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership), Jo Swinson MBE (Former Leader, Liberal Democrats), Mandu Reid (Leader, Women's Equality Party), Harriet Harman MP (Chair, Fawcett Society). Chaired by Ayesha Hazarika (Political commentator and Fawcett trustee).

Breakout sessions (1.30pm to 2.30pm)

1. Reforming Childcare (1.30pm to 2.30pm)

A lack of affordable early childhood education and care (ECEC) drives the motherhood penalty in earnings, which is now the most significant cause of the gender pay gap. 84% of women in marginal constituencies that were Conservative gains at the last election say that taking action on the gender pay gap is important to them in deciding who to vote for in a general election. This panel explores the politics of childcare, asking: what does childcare that works for all women look like, and how do we implement it?

With Sanmeet Kaur (Senior Campaigns Officer, Early Education and Childcare Coalition), Lauren Fabianski (Head of Campaigns and Communications, Pregnant Then Screwed), Abby Jitendra (Principal Policy Advisor, Joseph Rowntree Foundation). Chaired by Alesha De-Freitas (Head of Policy, Research and Advocacy, Fawcett Society).

2. Workplaces That Work For Women (1.30pm to 2.30pm)

Women continue to face structural barriers to workforce participation, with discrimination the norm for far too many. Fawcett research has shown that close to half of women in the workforce have experienced sexual harassment, and 75% of women of colour have experienced racism at work. In the context of a cost-of-living crisis and critical labour shortages, it is more crucial than ever that these barriers come down. This panel explores why a thriving economy relies on harnessing the skills and talents of women, and what government can do to make this happen.

With Shabna Begum (Co-CEO, Runnymede Trust), Tulip Siddiq MP (Member for Hampstead and Kilburn), Phoebe Arslanagić-Wakefield (Chair and Founder, Women in Think Tanks), Dr Zubaida Haque (Interim Deputy Director and Head of Research and Policy, Women's Budget Group). Chaired by Jane Van Zyl (CEO, Working Families).

3. A House For Everyone: Women's Representation in Parliament (1.30pm to 2.30pm)

Women, in all our diversity, have the right to see ourselves represented at every level of government, being a part of the decisions that affect them. We must urgently modernise Parliament to make this the norm. Not only is it critical that we see women running for office in equal numbers, but we also need to see women staying in office in equal numbers. This panel explores some of the interventions that can be made to turn that tide.

With Evelyn James (Campaigns Manager, Women's Equality Network), Stella Creasy MP (Member for Walthamstow), Tori Peck (Co-Director, Women2Win), Hina Bokhari (Member of the London Assembly). Chaired by Zainab Asunramu (Senior Policy and Public Affairs Officer, Fawcett Society).

4. Misogyny in Public Life (1.30pm to 2.30pm)

Misogyny is rife in all areas of public life. Fawcett campaigns against it in a number of ways, whether it be through our responses to Baroness Casey's report into the Metropolitan Police, addressing toxic masculinity online, or the momentous upholding of our complaint to IPSO against Jeremy Clarkson's sexist column about the Duchess of Sussex in The Sun. This panel explores how we harness the collective power of women's voices, and how political parties can support the fight against misogyny.

With Neelam Rose (Advocacy Officer, Muslim Women's Network), Sonia Khan (UK Associate Director in Public Affairs, H/Advisors Cicero), Kate Maltby (Critic, column and cultural historian). Chaired by Zaimal Azad (Senior Campaigns Officer, Fawcett Society).

Main room

2.45pm: Keynote address from Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard (27th Prime Minister of Australia and Chair, Global Institute for Women's Leadership) addresses the conference via video.

Achieve and Deliver: A Government That Works For Women (3.00pm to 4.00pm)

With women having the power to sway the vote at the general election, we bring together cross-party representatives to discuss our key areas of focus: childcare and workplace reform, women's diverse representation, and tackling misogyny. We put this question to the panel: how will you achieve equality and deliver for women?

With Anneliese Dodds MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities), Mandu Reid (Leader, Women's Equality Party), Cllr Hannah Perkin (Group Leader, Liberal Democrats). Chaired by Jemima Olchawski (CEO, Fawcett Society).

 For inquiries about the conference, please contact [email protected]

Booking for this event has now closed.