Black History Month

Published 30/10/2019   |   Last Updated 05/05/2021   |   Reading Time minutes

On Saturday 28th September, during the GWLAD: Future Wales Festival, I had the opportunity to be a member of Chwarae Teg's panel consisting of former and aspiring AMs discussing the topic - 'A Senedd For All Women'

The panel featured inspiring women including: Cerys Furlong (Chair, Chwarae Teg Chief Executive),  Sahar al Faifi (Youth leader of Citizens UK Wales and activist), Jocelyn Davies (Former Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East), Sue Essex (Former Labour AM for Cardiff North).

Beginning the discussion was Sue and Jocelyn sharing their experience leading up to 1999 and how easy or difficult it was to get the measures that achieved gender equality introduced. Sue Essex reflected on one of her proudest moments, which was when under the leadership of Rhodri Morgan, Wales became the first government in the world to have a cabinet with more women than men. Jocelyn made notice of the dangers that very often personality can take priority of principle, and says that you have to guard against that if we are to achieve gender equality. Sahar says that she decided to get involved in party politics to give women of colour in Wales a voice, and to show that they can also aspire to political office. 

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My motivation for standing for the Parliament links into all of these women’s points as I want to be a voice for underrepresented people, be the political image for BAME that I struggled to see growing up, and have a say in our generations future.

The question was then asked, ' The way that the Youth Parliament was set up has meant that there is much better diversity than there is in the actual assembly - how does that reflect in the debate and behaviour? Is this something that we would like to see in the actual assembly?' It was very pleasant to see that the positive diversity in the Youth Parliament was noticed and it made me proud to be a part of something so admirable.

Though there were five of us on the panel, we all agreed that it was important to have BAME women represented in the assembly so that these issues (such as accessing the economy and poor representation) become visible and can therefore be tackled. So how do we do this? Well taking practical steps to ensure that women from all communities across Wales represented in public life. Changing mechanisms is vital to ensure change happens and be able to see the benefits of diversity.

The closing speeches were about what we wanted to see by the next 20th anniversary of devolution and I want to see what I have never seen before, and that's a face like mine, the face of a woman of colour in the National Assembly for Wales. More radical action is needed to see clear progress towards real equality for all women.

Thank you to Chwarae Teg for inviting me to take part in this discussion, it was an excellent experience and I enjoyed it so much! I was honoured to share a platform with such amazing women and to have the opportunity to speak on a topic on which I am very passionate about, especially before Black History Month was great. I look forward to seeing the progression towards a Senedd truly for all women.