Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader and former chair of Green Party Women, recently said: “The Green Party has consistently led the way compared to the other large parties in the percentage of women standing for elected office. In the 2010 general election we had 33% female candidates, compared to Labour’s 30%, the Conservative’s 24% and the Liberal Democrat’s 21%.” Always pushing forward, The Green Party of England and Wales has now committed to a fair 50% or more of our candidates being women, in order to redress the imbalance in Parliament and the broader political and social arenas. I want to reflect upon the fact that other parties – the same parties this week heralding an aggressive, agentic and uncompromising leader as the way for a woman to be in power, are the least supportive of further woman candidates. In the news this week we are hearing a great deal about one woman who climbed the political ladder. News reporters, asked to respectfully refrain from criticism, have allowed instead a very one-sided, glorifying and blinkered idea of her policies and put Vaseline on the eyes who seek to see how those policies affect us today. They are also failing to ask a vital question as to where other women of politics are. We will leave controversial critique of her policies for another time, it would take too many posts!
This post is about many political women, not one. These women of the Green political movement of today and of its seeding and growing this past 40 years, include party founders and leaders, activists and our first voice in Westminster. These are the women of the ‘there is an alternative’ movement. These are the women at the front of the movements of social justice, environmental protection, sustainable economics, peace-building and hope. I would like to introduce just some of these women who have changed the face of the political world for the better.
We offer some UK and international images and stories of women involved in the last 40 years of Green Politics. Some of these women have given lives and liberty, all have given integrity, intelligence, strength and vision. Sarah Cope, present Chair of Green Party Women: “Women in the UK are now facing a ‘triple jeopardy’ in terms of austerity. Firstly, increasing unemployment, as women’s employment is heavily focused on the public sector. Secondly, loss of income: over 70% of government cuts to date have come from women’s pockets. Add to this cuts to legal, domestic abuse services, caring and childcare support.” It becomes clear that we need more women representatives of the right kind, for fairness and perspective. The women pictured above and below are among the true women leaders in politics:
Click on these photographs to find the stories behind them and add your own experiences.
These women are not limited to but include (in no particular order):
- Leslie Whittaker and Freda Saunders, 50 % of the founders of our party which inspired a vital global green political movement. Without them, where would we be?
- Petra Kelly, bright, guiding star, whose life and influence could fill books & who was tragically killed
- Caroline Lucas MP, our history maker in Westminster
- Natalie Bennett, our empowered leader
- Marina Silva, founder and Leader of the Green Party in Brazil after coming third in elections
- Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio, held captive for 6 years for standing as a Green for Colombian Presidency
- Ms. Nao Suguro, co-founder of Green Party of Japan
- Agnieszka Grzybek, Co-leader of Green Party of Poland
- Doctor Jill Stein, Leader of Green Party USA
- Cheri Honkala, USA Green Party Deputy Leader
- Elizabeth May, Leader of Canadian Green Party
- Jenny Jones of the London Assembly
- Alison Johnstone, Green MSP
- Romayne Phoenix, Green Party MP candidate for Lewisham West and Penge and chair of Coalition of Resistance
- Jean Lambert, one of our wonderful champions of change in Europe, MEP for London
- Franziska Brantner, Green MEP
- Solange Fernex, life-long peace campaigner and European Green Party member
- Miriam Kennet a Green Councillor in Reading, founder and Director of the Green Economics Institute
Last month was Women’s History month. In a World in which women are often one of the under-represented groups, let’s take a moment to refocus on the inspirational, history making women in the Green Movement. They form part of a rich, vital and growing movement involved in social justice, environmental protection, peace work and human rights. As men and women of the Green movement move forward together towards equality, with our vision of a resilient, sustainable future, let’s herald these women.
In the East Midlands Katharina Bottege stands as MEP. Her mother has also been a vital part of the Green political movement. For more information on Green Party policy for a fair 50% of candidates to be women, please see: