Category Archives: Suffolk County Council

I’m Speaking up for Women

Caroline Page, County Councillor, Woodbridge; LibDem Green & Independent Spokesperson for Women

When the Suffolk County Council LibDem Green and Independent Group was formed, I was appointed Group Spokesperson for Women. The first and only Group in this county to have one.

Interesting, because there IS no Suffolk County Cabinet member for Women for me to shadow.

So why am I spokesperson? Because there is no Suffolk County Cabinet member for Women for me to shadow.

Suffolk is not only a county in which it isn’t good to be a girl or woman, Suffolk is a county that is not even aware of the fact.

When I checked charity Plan  International UK’s statistics last September and discovered Suffolk was a poor place to be a girl (in terms of important measures: Child Poverty, NEET, Teenage pregnancy, GCSEs and Life Expectancy) both Suffolk’s County Cabinet and officers were lost for words. It clearly was not the kind of info they collected. They have yet to get back to me as to what they will do about it.

Again, when I broke the news that 1 in 2 of 59 year old women were unpaid family carers (odds not shared by men until they were 75) this came as a complete surprise to those who represent the people of Suffolk. Despite the fact this will have a huge impact on working-aged women’s careers, incomes, life outcomes, and PENSIONS – and that too much of what is heard about  #WASPI debate has been along the lines of “Diddums. Why shouldn’t you women expect to be equal to us men?” (Men, I ask you, why isn’t 1 in 2 of you a family carer at 59? Is it because you want a decent pension pot? Yes? Well,  I have every sympathy. I want one too!).

Instead of addressing the inequity, the men who run Suffolk’s finances don’t notice it and underspend on the family carers’ budget to fund its social care programme…

When  a former Mayor of Woodbridge was asked why there were no blue plaques to women in Woodbridge, he replied: “Maybe women have never done anything.” Really and truly. This in Woodbridge which is represented by a woman MP, a woman County Councillor, and currently, a woman Mayor.

Seems that Suffolk – nursery of those indomitable seekers after equality, Elizabeth and Millicent Garrett – is in need of a reminder that equality is still a long way off.

So how do we create equality?

– Part of this is making an end of female objectification. A  good start would be universal application of my ‘Eric Pickles test ©“.  It goes: Would that headline/ad/statement make sense if it was about Eric Pickles? That photo of a “wardrobe malfunction”? that clickbait where someone “shows off their new, toned beach body”? that fitness ad about “getting a pert and peachy derriere”? Does it sound silly with Eric there? Yes? Well then, leave women out of it too, thank you very much. It encourages disrespect and disregard.

– Part of it is pointing out inequality in any arena. I have spent several years tweeting Radio4’s Today programme about their inability to distinguish between sport and men’s sport. With final success, but only after years when for weeks on end the only female name mentioned in their sports reports was the mare running in the 3.40 at Lingfield.

Unimportant? Only if you’re wanting to sustain a narrative of male importance and female inconsequence. I’m afraid it was constant nagging that did the trick with Radio 4. Sloppy journos who just want to talk to their chums shouldn’t be allowed to set the agenda. Because, the agenda set , suddenly the narrative is,  “nobody’s interested” (just like a playground bully saying “nobody likes you,”) – and blow me, fame and funding follow the narrative. The strongest woman in Britain lives in Melton. Did you even know that?

– Partly it is about defending the utter necessity for certain woman-specific provision. We can all dream of an equal society, but whilst 1 in 4 women experiences domestic violence, whilst one British woman is killed by a man – generally one she knows – every 2.4 days, women and children desperately need refuges,  support, safe spaces for access, and the funding for all this. Any meninists protesting equality will not make these requirements less needful, less vital.

And all people – men and women – who believe in equality realise this as truth.

But without a woman to speak up for equality in the Suffolk administration – what happens to it?  It is ‘assumed’ as existing without existing. The funding gets lost because the issue has no direct relevance to the men in charge – and the whole county suffers.

Sad but true.

And I am going to be here to carry on pointing it out, until the Suffolk  administration realises this too.

The situation of carers in Suffolk

EADT’s coverage of the problems faced by Carers

Brilliant to see the EADT taking the issues faced by unpaid carers – particularly working-age women – so seriously.

Their coverage  today:

http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/carers-don-t-want-cake-they-want-realistic-support-says-campaigning-councillor-1-5074532

highlights many of  the problems and inequities faced by women carers  in Suffolk: longterm stress,  poverty, loss of career, pension, loneliness, the often infantile and wholly inadequate nature of the ‘support’ on offer.

And as the LibDem Green and Independent Group’s spokesperson for Women I suggest the problems experienced by carers would be less hidden if Suffolk County Council made themselves more aware of the challenges facing women in the county!

Thank You, Woodbridge!

Caroline Page, County Councillor, Woodbridge

Thank you, Woodbridge, for the confidence you have shown in me by electing me to represent you for another four years.

It is a privilege be chosen to serve you and i will continue to work with you to make our town the best place it can be for all of us to live in.

For those interested:
Woodbridge polled 47% of the electorate – well above the 37-38% average across Suffolk, and the highest in Suffolk Coastal.  (In the last county council election, in 2013, Woodbridge had a 42% turnout). Not a single spoiled paper was recorded. I am immensely proud of both of these facts: it shows the town has a very committed and enthusiastic electorate.

  •  As regards numbers, I polled 51% of the vote (1,547)- a significant increase on the 42%  of the vote I polled in 2013.  Conservative  vote was 1,041; Labour, 254; Greens, 113; UKIP, 55.

Woodbridge: Remember to Vote Today!

 

I’m standing for re-election as Woodbridge County Councillor in the 2017 Suffolk County Council election

Today, May 4th, is the date of the local elections. You are voting to elect your county councillor. So, what qualities are you looking for?

A local candidate? One with years of experience? Someone with a track record of hard work, and practical activism? Someone who is prepared to fight your corner?

I am standing for election for a fourth term in the town I have made my home for the last 25 years. I’m the only county councillor in East Suffolk – maybe in Suffolk – to have been running a monthly open-access surgery for Suffolk residents since 2011. I’ve successfully fought for improvements to local services – and against cuts. I have upheld the voice of individual residents at all times and forcefully called the administration’s decision-making to account.

I can’t promise to solve every problem – but I can promise to listen, to support, and to do my very best to help you. I can also promise that if you re-elect me, I will continue to work indefatigably on your behalf.

It’s your town, it’s your vote, it’s your decision. I’m asking you to trust me to respect all of these things and to put your vote to best use by voting for me today.

Caroline

 

Local elections in Suffolk today!

What qualities do you want in your County Councillor?

thumbnail of 1704 Suffolk Woodbridge v3 So, what qualities are you looking for when you elect a County Councillor?

A local candidate? One with years of experience?  Someone with a track record of hard work, and practical activism? Someone who is prepared to fight your corner?

I am standing for election for a fourth term in the town I have made my home for the last 25 years. I’m the only county councillor in East Suffolk – maybe in Suffolk – to have run a monthly open access surgery for Suffolk residents since 2011. I’ve successfully fought for improvements for – and against cuts to –  local services. I have upheld the voice of individual residents at all times and forcefully called the administration’s decision-making to account.

If you re-elect me, I will continue to do this on your behalf