Women’s equality committee proposal for Uttlesford District Council by R4U

To mark the anniversary of the start of the female vote, R4U has proposed a motion for the district council to establish a cross-party committee to proactively drive greater equality and inclusivity.

During February 1918 women in the UK started to get the vote. To mark the centenary, local residents’ party, Residents for Uttlesford, has called for the formation of a new district council committee to take positive steps towards achieving greater equality.

Barbara Light (R4U) Barbara Light (R4U)

R4U’s Uttlesford District Councillor Dr Barbara Light said “Whilst society has made great strides in equality, there is still a glass ceiling for women where many professions still fail to recognise their skills through equal pay, career progression and opportunities. Even though it is 100 years to the month since some women began to be able to vote in the UK, the current national and local debates about equality underscore the fact that much of society is still out of step. Twenty-eighteen already feels like the year of positive change, but it will take decisive action to make this a reality.”

Cllr Light continued “Whilst we have many female officers and councillors, there is still evidently more work to be done because current district council policies and tools are not aspirational and only require the bare minimum of compliance with regulations. Others have suggested establishing an equalities role within the council cabinet, but bestowing a title on someone is frankly just playing lip-service. So we have called on the district council to establish a separate and independent Equality Committee. Our motion has been accepted and will be debated and voted on by the full district council on 22 February. Its purpose will be to ensure that the council, its constitution, and practices are fully equitable and meet modern society’s expectation of equality and inclusivity for all. This is a progressive proposal that we feel all councillors can back, and so we look forward to working with our fellow council colleagues of all parties to make it a reality. If our proposal is adopted by the council, we urge interested residents, both men and women, to put themselves forward for the independent roles that we envisage.”

About Residents for Uttlesford

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is the local independent party of north-west Essex towns and villages. Formed in 2014 by a number of residents’ groups, the party believes that on local issues residents should decide, not Westminster parties. R4U’s success has been based on the desire to give local people a voice and implement long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area.

R4U leads Uttlesford District Council (UDC). In its first election in 2015 it became the second party at UDC. In the May 2019 R4U gained majority control of UDC winning two-thirds of the seats. The result delivered the biggest loss of seats by any UK Conservative controlled council in the UK. In 2021 the party won half the Essex County Council seats in Uttlesford district.

R4U also leads Saffron Walden Town Council, where under its stewardship the council has rebuilt finances, invested in community assets, and won multiple awards, including the best run council in Essex. It is a minority party on Great Dunmow Town Council.

Residents for Uttlesford can be found on the web at www.residents4u.org.