International Women’s Day: Campaigning for Gwynedd to be represented by three women

Plaid Cymru in Gwynedd have noted International Women’s Day by celebrating the prospect of the county being represented by three women after the 2024 General Election.


The special event held in Caernarfon invited local county and town councillors, party officers and elected representatives together to celebrate the strong team of Plaid Cymru women who has “never been so strong.”


The event was an opportunity for women on all levels of the party to network and touch base with the area’s representative in Senedd Cymru, Siân Gwenllian, Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Liz-Saville Roberts, and Plaid Cymru candidate for Bangor Aberconwy, Catrin Wager. Organisers claimed the event was held to “look forward” to the possibility of the county being represented by three women both in Westminster and the Senedd, and to learn of the work being done by Siân Gwenllian and Liz Saville Roberts for gender equality in their respective parliaments.


The event was opened by Liz Saville Roberts, who hopes to represent the town of Caernarfon as part of the newly-drawn-up constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd after the 2024 General Election. Liz Saville Roberts was the first woman to represent Dwyfor Meirionnydd when she was elected for the seat in its current form in 2015. She was also Plaid Cymru’s first female MP. This week she appeared on the Women in Westminster – The 100 list which celebrates women at the forefront of politics and public services, including Members of Parliament, journalists, civil servants and beyond.


She said:


“A decade ago, Dwyfor Meirionnydd had never had a woman representative in Westminster, nor had Arfon in the Senedd. But Siân and I have broken those glass ceilings.


“Also, in the 2022 Gwynedd Council elections, there was a 16% increase in the percentage of Plaid Cymru councillors who were women.


“The group has never been so strong.


“But there’s a lot of work yet to be done on gender equality, and I spoke in today’s event about my work tackling inequalities in the Criminal Justice system and in calling for a Welsh justice system that genuinely rehabilitates women offenders.


“I also discussed my work locally supporting Rhianon Bragg, whose case exemplifies the flaws in the system.”


Catrin Wager is standing to be Plaid Cymru MP for Bangor Aberconwy in the 2024 General Election, and if successful, she would join Liz and Siân in representing Gwynedd. The northern-most parts of the county, namely Bangor and the Ogwen Valley fall within the seat. She is a former councillor on Gwynedd Council representing Upper Bangor, and also served as a Cabinet Member.


She discussed the importance of intersectional equality, specifically the need to support disabled women in their efforts to be elected.


She explains:


“As a Plaid Cymru group we worked hard to encourage more women to stand for local elections in 2022, and I'm so pleased that that work led to the number of female councillors in Gwynedd Council rising from just over 20% to over 40%. 


“There's still a long way to go to make local government more equal; the fact that female councillors having children while in office do not maternity leave for example, shows how much things still have to change.  


“But we also have to keep fighting to make the political world more representative in other ways. For example,  it's a shocking statistic that 1 in 5 members of the working age population in the UK identifies as having a disability, yet out of 650 MPs in Westminster only 8 have declared they have a disability. 


“This needs to change. And today I encourage all to recognise the need to not only hear more women's voices in politics, but to recognise that we also need to hear the voices of women with a range of life experiences, who are facing different, yet often intersectional, barriers.  Only then can we start to build a fairer more equitable future for all."


The event was brought to a close by Siân Gwenllian, the local representative in the Senedd. When elected in 2016, she became the first woman to represent Arfon.


Siân said:


“I was glad of the opportunity to discuss important work being done to advance gender equality as part of Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government’s Cooperation Agreement.


“I’m immensely proud that in the Senedd next week a Bill will be discussed that would ensure gender balance with a specific mechanism, rather than depending on good will. This would mean that at least 50% of MSs would be women.


“In 2003, what was then called the Welsh Assembly became the first legislative body in the world made up of equal numbers of men and women. That fact was celebrated internationally.


“But we’ve since taken a step back, which goes to show that we can’t expect gender balance to happen organically.


“And what we’ve learned is that ensuring a diversity of voices in parliaments isn’t just the morally right thing to do, it also delivers more effective governance.


“And so, I look forward to seeing the Senedd Cymru (Electoral Candidate Lists) Bill make its way through the Welsh Parliament. And what better time to celebrate than on International Women’s Day?”

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  • Osian Owen
    published this page in News 2024-03-08 15:59:53 +0000

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