www.wpradio talks to Carolyn Quinn Chair of the Parliamentary Press Gallery – the first woman!

http://www.wpradio.co.uk
Women’s Parliamentary Radio
July 6th 2011

http://www.wpradio talks to Carolyn Quinn Chair of the Parliamentary Press Gallery – the first woman!

“The Burma Road “ – Our intrepid reporter Linda Fairbrother takes a tour of the press gallery fondly known as “The Burma Road” with Carolyn Quinn.

Carolyn is well known as presenter of the The Westminster Hour on Radio 4 on Sunday evenings at 10.00pm. Our audience will also recognise her voice as the presenter of the weekday PM in Eddie Mair’s absence, she’s presented on Today too!

Carolyn began on The Irish Post, then she was selected for a BBC local radio trainee scheme, then she worked for Radio Solent, before moving on to the local radio desk for the BBC at Westminster. She became a political correspondent in 1994.

Carolyn tells Linda:

“Women weren’t allowed into the Press Gallery. In the 1890s they declared: “The consequences would have been too difficult to conceive.” Then two women sat in the press gallery to cover Nancy Astor taking her seat as the first woman MP in 1919! It took another 26 years before woman took up permanent reporting posts in the Gallery. “

Thanks Carolyn for the tour and for the history, you can learn more by listening.
Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show in March 2011 for the previous 6 months we are consistently getting over 2500 visits per month. Downloads have ranged between 25GB and 36GB per month.
2. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content. We have over 500,000 hits in a year.
3. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item and they enjoy our documentary making too. In March 2011 there were 1,250 downloads of individual podcasts, with our top ten downloads published on our site.
4. The top four downloads show our cross-party appeal to our listeners: 1. Hazel Blears Interview 203 2. Sally Keeble How the budget is helping grandparents 171 3. Theresa May Interview 159 4. Anne Begg Parliamentary Education Service Question Time 123. 5 Anne Begg – Parliamentary reform and MPs expenses. The ERS documentary on women MPs had 99 downloads.

5. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

6. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

7. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

8. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.

Nigel Nelson talks to Tim Loughton MP, “Face to Face”!

http://www.wpradio.co.uk
Women’s Parliamentary Radio
1st July 2011

Face to Face Encounters: Nigel Nelson talks to Tim Loughton MP, Under Secretary of State for Children and Families

No time to draw breath, Tim Loughton, the MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, has found himself in the hot seat since becoming the Under Secretary of State for Children and Families in the coalition government. A Foster Carers Charter, Adoption Guidance, a £11.2 million grant to the NSPCC for Childline and other help lines, child protection guidance, helping to launch the new National Citizen’s Service, a visit to Rethink, not to mention a web chat with the Youth Parliament and speaking his mind about cut-backs to Sure Start on Twitter too. Phew!

Tim Loughton isn’t frightened of speaking up for his beliefs and championing the causes close to his heart. Here Tim speaks with real passion and conviction about his plans for the future to Nigel Nelson, Political Editor of the People in the second of his series “Face to Face” encounters.

Tim pledges to get to the “heart of the more difficult communities” to help them access Sure Start Centres which he would like to see expand and open for longer in the evening and at weekends too. He is “ambitious” for them to “do more and better for more people!” You can’t improve on that. Thanks Tim! Education and youth training and better care for “looked after” children are also at the top of his “to do list”!

Here’s what Tim told Nigel:
• The fast pace: “It is a busy brief a really wide brief here. There was a lot to do having shadowed this brief for more than seven years, so we hit the ground running, lots to do lots more to do so I want to see it through. “

• Sexual exploitation: “I am not seeking to offend anybody, but at last the headlines are beginning to catch up with the problem. I think there is a really big problem with child sexual exploitation it has been going on out of the media glare for many years, but some of the high profile cases from the Midlands and the North of England earlier this year shows it affects many different communities not just cities, but in towns and rural area across the country too. This is child abuse – and we must absolutely clamp down on it, as vigorously as possible and I don’t care if it is people from ethnic communities or white men it is all child abuse. We are putting together an action plan on this with colleagues in the Home Office, and we are working with Barnado’s and CEOP and the police to make sure everybody knows what to do to clamp down on it. It affects an awful lot of teenagers, and one of the good things that has helped to bring this to light is the soap opera scripts in East Enders. That made a lot of people sit up and pay attention. Some of the charities involved in this think that tens of thousands of children are the victims of this up and down the country. We need to take it more seriously than it has been.”

• Child Abuse: “Anything that gets people’s attention to show this is a problem has to be a good thing. People recognise Baby P and Victoria Climbie as child abuse, people have become used to that and they recognise that as child abuse. I don’t think people really appreciated the magnitude of thousands of our teenage kids falling prey to criminals using them for sexual gratification and for financial profit, in some quite closed communities in some case, but it takes different forms. It maybe grooming on the internet, preying on kids in children’s homes, those using networks to get these kids to do horrible things, it is a really big problem and it has been swept under the carpet in the past. This is criminal activity, it is child abuse and we need to clamp down on it much more heavily than we have. “

• The care system: “One of the biggest concerns I have had has been the appalling outcomes for kids in the care system. We have failed tens of thousands of kids in the care system. The outcomes for these children are absolutely appalling, teenage pregnancies, homelessness, mental health problems, we should have been much tougher about recognising these problems many years ago. I have met a lot of kids in the care system, and there is a huge gap in attainment. We also have more children in care now post Baby Peter, 64,500 kids in care in England. It is really urgent that we get to grips with how we can give them a second chance of a real stable family upbringing and a second chance with catching up with other kids as well.”

• Stability: “The best antidote has to be stability. When you have been abused and you have to leave your birth parents’ that is unsettling, going into foster care and maybe a residential home that is unsettling, and that is worse if that environment keeps changing. It is no wonder those kids fall behind at school, they may go to a series of different schools. We are trying to bring about some stability, so better quality foster carers doing the right thing by them and local authorities allowing them to look after them as if they were their own children without all the rules and regulations. I am being best informed on this by children who have been in care themselves. You just have to listen to them and I am really determined to improve their lot.”

• Foster care: “The biggest cost and waste of money is when it goes
wrong. If you don’t get the appropriate place in the first place, usually in foster care, and that placement breaks down and then they have to go into a residential home which costs up to £125,000 a year that is a big outlay. Socially that is a big disaster as well. It is much better to get the good quality appropriate placement in the first place. If you don’t there is a slippery slope that ends up in a huge social impact to the child and huge financial cost coming back to the local authority as well.”

• Evil people: “You will never stop the Victoria Climbie cases of this World happening. There are evil people who do unspeakable things to vulnerable children and we will never stamp that out altogether. What I am determined to do is to make the opportunities for these people to commit violence and abuse against these children much less, to make sure they are on the radar sooner and professionals are able to step in as early as possible and to take children out of danger sooner. We need a proper system. The regulation has become the problem. We now have professionals spending 80 per cent of their time in front of a computer screen and not out on the street. They are not going where the action is and that is what will make the difference not the number of forms filled in, and that is why we are going to completely overhaul it and that is why the Monro Review on child protection was so important. I fear there will always be Baby P type cases. We don’t hear about the many hundred of other child deaths happening every year, they don’t all hit the headlines. We have got to make sure that Baby P and Victoria Climbie are the exception and we are reducing the opportunity for people to do these evil things as much as possible.”

• Money NSPCC: We have given a grant over four years of 11.2 million to help them run Childline, it is a fantastic resource and most young people understand what it is and more are using it. I think it is better we use a voluntary organisation that is held in great respect and let them run the helpline, we don’t tell them how to run it, they have to put a business case to us. I see some of the reports they produce, let them get on with it, the NSPCC know more than most how to do it.”

• Rethink: “The State can’t and shouldn’t do everything. I took the Mental Health Bill through Parliament and I have always said mental health is the Cinderella service of the NHS. It is an area where unless you intervene early it is a false economy and those conditions will worsen and you are then looking at the need for more severe interventions later on which is financially very costly. We are doing a better job on Mental Health, my colleagues have produced the recent Paper “There is no Health Without Mental Health” which is a very important message that mental health is no different from physical health. We are determined it should be treated as an equal partner with all physical health, not just relying on drugs, as happened, and better CBT counselling too. 1 in 10 school age children will have some form of mental illness at some stage.”

• “A greater percentage of the NHS cake is going into funding mental health. In the past we haven’t had enough counsellors and CBT therapists available, and GPs have had to put people on long waiting lists or prescribe quite powerful drugs for them. That is not always the most appropriate course of action, and we are beginning to get a more flexible mental health service.”

• The National Youth Parliament: “Some of my best advice and ideas comes from young people, that is why I set up various groups of young people who come and advice me. That is why I spend a lot of my time going out meeting youth projects around the Country. The Youth Parliament is a fantastic organisation, 400 kids come and sit in the House of Commons, the standard of debate is a lot better, they have good stuff to say and politicians ignore them at their peril. I want to spend as much time out of the office with young people as possible and that might improve the solutions we come up with.”

• Sure Start Centres: “We have never been all over the place on Sure Start, we supported Sure Start Children’s Centres when they came in all the way through the years of opposition. We said they were a great resource and we supported their expansion and absolutely we made it clear we wanted that network of 3,500 to continue and we made sure there was enough money in the Early Intervention Grant to fund them. We want them to do more, I want them to be open longer, to be open in the evenings and at the weekends and I want them to access the more difficult to access communities. If there has been a failing they have been used well by the middle classes but we haven’t sought out those people who really do need to be using them who we need to engage with better. We want to get to the heart of some of the more difficult communities to ensure everybody is using them. We are really ambitious for them to do more and better for more people.”

• Youth unemployment, disengagement, and housing: “It is a tough time to be a young person it is a tough time to be growing up. At the moment with all the pressures on the economy getting a job and getting into training is a real challenge. We have to make sure there are training opportunities and the expansion in apprenticeships is a really important part of what we are doing. We have to make sure we get as many people going on to appropriate higher and further education as possible, and that is why we are upping the participation age to 18 by 2015. The figures just out show there has been a reduction in NEETS and more people are staying on, this is one of our biggest challenges. We must not forget about it as those kids come from childhoods into adulthood at one of the most challenging times. It would be a false economy not to be doing as much as we can about it and we are.”

Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show in March 2011 for the previous 6 months we are consistently getting over 2500 visits per month. Downloads have ranged between 25GB and 36GB per month.
2. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content. We have over 500,000 hits in a year.
3. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item and they enjoy our documentary making too. In March 2011 there were 1,250 downloads of individual podcasts, with our top ten downloads published on our site.
4. The top four downloads show our cross-party appeal to our listeners: 1. Hazel Blears Interview 203 2. Sally Keeble How the budget is helping grandparents 171 3. Theresa May Interview 159 4. Anne Begg Parliamentary Education Service Question Time 123. 5 Anne Begg – Parliamentary reform and MPs expenses. The ERS documentary on women MPs had 99 downloads.

5. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

6. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

7. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

8. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.

wwwpradio.co.uk talks to Hazel Blears MP and Theresa May MP

http://www.wpradio.co.uk
Women’s Parliamentary Radio

June 20th 2011

http://www.wpradio.co.uk asks Nigel Nelson to talk to Hazel Blears MP on “Prevent” and The Rt Hon Theresa May MP celebrates 5 years of Women2Win

Face to Face Encounters: Hazel Blears MP talks to the Political Editor of the People Nigel Nelson

Hazel Blears, the Labour MP for Salford since 1997, who served as the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Minister of State for Policing and Counter Terrorism has a lot to say on the new Coalition government’s “Prevent” strategy to combat terrorism. It was launched in 2007, when Hazel was a Minister, to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Almost £80 million was spent on 1,000 Prevent schemes, in the battle against al-Qaeda. But it was dogged with controversy and allegations money went to the wrong groups. So what does Hazel think of the new Coalition government’s “re-focused” Prevent strategy? Nigel Nelson the Political Editor of the People asked her in this special wpradio.co.uk “Face to Face Encounters” interview.

Read Nigel’s blog: http://www.blogs.people.co.uk/nigel-nelson

• Hazel told Nigel: “The spin that has been put on this deliberately is fundamentally wrong. I was meticulous in having audit and making sure money went to people who shared our values. I took some strong stands on this and I was disappointed in the way it was presented by the government.

• “The groups I wanted to encourage were moderate mainstream Muslims. To say this perverted fundamentalist views of Islam is wrong, that is where I focused the resource. “

• “I don’t think the whole things was a success, it was completely new territory, but we were miles ahead of anything in Europe, people weren’t tackling these issues, and when you start a new programme some things will work and some won’t, but right across the World people said ‘you have done some excellent work’. There are always things you can improve and I wish the Home Secretary, in the refresh of Prevent, would acknowledge there has been progress.”

• “I think we now need to look at some of the causes of extremism, not just Islamic but far right extremism too. What drives people down these paths and what are the trigger points in people’s lives? What is it that actually triggers this particular action amongst young people?

• “I set up the Muslim Women’s Advisory Group and I set up the Young Muslim Advisory Group as well which have been abolished by this government, and I am very disappointed that all of that structure has been abolished. “

• “I am in strong agreement with the government that Universities have a strong responsibility to moderate what happens on campus. Sometimes some of the statements that people make can create an atmosphere in which the more extreme ideas that come about can be fostered. Free speech is important but to be pumping out messages of hatred and division between people is wrong. “

• On her new “Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements” initiative to get paid interns from all backgrounds into Parliament Hazel said:” Our first intake of 12 will start in the Autumn. I want it to transform the lives of people who come, they will have a contact book to die for! And I want to see people who do a job of work get paid not just in politics but in journalism, the law and other professions too, it is rife, they should be paid the national minimum wage. “
• “I just feel talent will come through, but if you can’t get into politics because the doors aren’t open to you we are missing out on all that talent. I want politics, my Cabinet, my government to take in people who have a range of life experiences.”

Women2Win: Looking Towards 2015 – The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

It was a five year birthday party and a packed celebration of the Conservative Women2Win Campaign that saw a record 49 of their women MPs elected to Parliament in the 2010 General Election. But not content with their numbers the campaign is marching on to get even more Conservative women MP elected in the next General Election probably in 2015. So could the event panellists envisage a gender balanced parliament in the next ten years? Our intrepid reporter Linda Fairbrother talked to them as the celebrations came to a lively and vibrant conclusion.

Linda began with the Guest Speaker, The Rt Hon Theresa May MP Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, then together she chatted to Helen Grant MP, Priti Patel MP, Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics, University of Bristol and Jackie Ashley, Columnist, The Guardian.

http://www.wpradio.co.uk would like to thank: Brooks Newmark MP & Baroness Morris of Bolton Co-Chairmen of Women2Win & Alexandra Robson & Baroness Jenkin of Kennington Director of Women2Win & Co-Founder of Women2Win. Find out more http://www.women2win

• The Rt Hon Theresa May MP told Linda: “In terms of Constituency and boundary changes, Women2Win will carry on the work we are doing. We are looking forward to encouraging more women into Parliament in 2015 there will be boundary changes and we are now in government, not in opposition so we are not in the process of having a very large number of seats to win to get into government. “
• “The Party did do quite a lot, we didn’t go all the way to create All-women shortlists, but the creation of the “A” list the “Priority” list, the Open primaries, the all postal Open Primaries too. We have done a lot in the past of course we will have to look at the new scenario and what needs to be done in future as well.”
• Priti Patel MP told Linda: “Women2Win has transformed and revolutionised the desire and conviction in the Conservative Party to get more women elected and getting more women involved in public office. We have had tremendous support from Women2Win, it has been tremendous in telling us what it is all about.”
• Helen Grant MP told Linda:” Women2Win was a fantastic recruitment and development organisation for women. It attracted women into politics and helped to grow them into politicians and the help could be anything from holding your hand with media interviews to attending influential events. Marvellous!”

Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show in March 2011 for the previous 6 months we are consistently getting over 2500 visits per month. Downloads have ranged between 25GB and 36GB per month.
2. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content. We have over 500,000 hits in a year.
3. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item and they enjoy our documentary making too. In March 2011 there were 1,250 downloads of individual podcasts, with our top ten downloads published on our site.
4. The top four downloads show our cross-party appeal to our listeners: 1. Hazel Blears Interview 203 2. Sally Keeble How the budget is helping grandparents 171 3. Theresa May Interview 159 4. Anne Begg Parliamentary Education Service Question Time 123. 5 Anne Begg – Parliamentary reform and MPs expenses. The ERS documentary on women MPs had 99 downloads.

5. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

6. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

7. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

8. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.

Ann Treneman interviews Gisela Stuart MP and more!!

http://www.wpradio.co.uk
Women’s Parliamentary Radio
June 10th 2011

http://www.wpradio.co.uk The Times Parliamentary sketch writer Ann Treneman interviews Gisela Stuart MP on reform of the Commons and the Lords, Penny Mordaunt MP tells us about her “Special Educational Needs” Bill and we hear how Queen Mothers in Ghana are leading the feminist fight for equality

Ann Treneman and Gisela Stuart MP “Face to Face”

In a packed programme Women’s Parliamentary Radio hears from The Times sketch writer Ann Treneman in the third of her special “Face to Face Encounters” series on reform of Parliament. This week Ann talks to Gisela Stuart the Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston since 1997 and Editor of the House Magazine.

Gisela tells Ann: “The biggest change I have witnessed in Parliament is that it is no longer unusual to see a women on either side of the Benches and the age profile has also improved but not the social profile, we need to reach out to people in the real world who have done a real job rather than those who have been special advisors. There has been progress but the other thing that is different is that we are in the age of irreverence – the status of MPs’ has changed, we had to learn the meaning of that phrase “humble servants”.”

“On MP’s salaries IPSA has not solved the problem yet. Claimable expenses became a salary supplement and allowances which was wrong. We have now gone to the other extreme with IPSA with a regime that is punitive and highly bureaucratic; we are coming step by step to a workable solution there will always be a tension. But remember no-one goes into politics because of the salary.”

“Coming to the hours Parliament is here to be a battle of power and a battle of ideas. Caroline Lucas MP comes from a European tradition which believes that through discourse you come to a right answer, but this is Anglo-Saxon politics which is based on the best solution at any moment and one side wins and one side losses. This House is Anglo-Saxon and comes alive at night, you eyeball each other from swords distance, and if you are not still standing at 10 O’clock you probably don’t deserve to be standing. We need to battle out which idea carries the greatest weight and that might deprive you of your sleep sometimes.”

“The Lords is one of the most British processes I have ever come across. We are having huge debates about the composition of a body without defining what it should do. We should have a debate about its function then its composition would logically flow from that. If it is a revising Chamber, I would have no problem with it being fully appointed but for two ten year terms, why for life?”

Scroll down and you can also hear Ann interview Natascha Engel MP (Lab) who chairs the Backbench Business Committee and The Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas MP in the same series of “Encounters”. Thanks Ann. These interviews are special.

Penny Mordaunt MP and her “Special Educational Needs Bill”

Penny Mordaunt the Conservative MP for Portsmouth North has introduced a Private Member’s Bill on “Special Educational Needs” provision. Penny wants the money to follow the pupil and even though such Bills rarely become law her Bill is already attracting the attention of Government Ministers and may be taken up as an issue by them in the future eventually leading to change. Penny talks to Boni Sones OBE our Executive Producer.

• Penny tells Boni: ”Provision is one thing, my Bill isn’t addressing should there be more special needs schools, what we need to do is to increase the power parents have and enshrine in law that their children should have access to the best education to help them for their particular needs. It includes other practical measures such as to change the funding flows and ensuring LA’s must publish all the provision that is available in the area to help parents get what their children need.”

• “Most Private Members Bills do get killed off. Labour MP David Blunkett MP is helping with this, it is cross-party, and it is going in the direction of travel of government policies but it is not going far enough. We are trying to get the Government to go further and allow the funding about £5,500 to follow the pupil so special needs places can be purchased by the parents or others. Already it is having an influence, Schools Minister, Sarah Teather MP, has spoken to me about my Bill and we are hoping it will influence the Green Paper on Special Educational Needs.”

To support Penny go to http://www.pennymordaunt.com Good luck Penny.

The story of Queen Mothers in Ashantiland, Ghana – Dilys Kyeiwaa Winterkorn

The role of women in the Arab Spring uprisings and now in Bahrain is highlighting the different cultural values placed on the role of women in today’s “global village society”. In one African Country, Ghana, Queen Mothers have traditional had a powerful “feminist” role to play in organising their communities and providing a safety network within them. On issues such as politics, agriculture and education the women speak up and get their voices heard, all thanks to a “golden stool”, and a Queen Mother called Yaa Asantewaa the Great. Dilys Kyeiwaa Winterkorn will tell you more. She spoke to our Executive Producer Boni Sones OBE.

Footnotes:

1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show in March 2011 for the previous 6 months we are consistently getting over 2500 visits per month. Downloads have ranged between 25GB and 36GB per month.
2. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content. We have over 500,000 hits in a year.
3. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item and they enjoy our documentary making too. In March 2011 there were 1,250 downloads of individual podcasts, with our top ten downloads published on our site.
4. The top four downloads show our cross-party appeal to our listeners: 1. Hazel Blears Interview 203 2. Sally Keeble How the budget is helping grandparents 171 3. Theresa May Interview 159 4. Anne Begg Parliamentary Education Service Question Time 123. 5 Anne Begg – Parliamentary reform and MPs expenses. The ERS documentary on women MPs had 99 downloads.

5. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

6. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

7. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

8. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.

www.wpradio.co.uk asks “What are they banging on about”: We talk to “Ed”!

http://www.wpradio.co.uk
Women’s Parliamentary Radio
May 26th 2011

http://www.wpradio.co.uk asks three women MPs and the Labour Leader Ed Miliband: “What are you banging on about and why?”

Wilberforce abolished slavery by “banging on” about it over many years. A year into a new Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government and Parliament three women MPs and the Labour leader Ed Miliband talk of the issues of concern to them.

Seema Malhotra Director of the Fabian Women’s Network launches a campaign: “Women changing politics” to assist more Labour women to become MPs at the next General Election. 22 women have been selected to be that “crack in the glass ceiling” – we hear from two of them Chloe and Suzy. Thanks to Seema we hear from the Labour Leader Ed Miliband too.

Nadine Dorries Conservative MP for Mid Beds on her “Sex Education” Ten Minute Rule Bill to encourage abstinence in sex through incorporating it into sex education in schools.

Rachel Reeves Labour MP for Leeds West tells us about the “Hands off our pensions” campaign for women who are unjustly being affected by public sector cut-backs, particularly some 57-year-old women.

Baroness Sal Brinton, a Liberal Democrat Peer, is going to ensure her Party gets more women into Parliament at the next General Election. There are suggestions that the existing seven Liberal Democrat women MPs will all lose their seats.
Banging on they most certainly are and that’s what brings success ultimately.

Thanks Ed for the sound bite! Reports by our Executive Producer Boni Sones OBE.

Ed Miliband and Seema Malhotra

• Ed Miliband Labour Leader told us: “I would like to see as many women MPs as possible in Parliament at the next General Election. What I want to get to eventually is half of our MPs to be women, it’s obviously going to take time to get there.”
• Seema Malhotra, Director of the Fabian Women’s Network said: “We are launching a political education scheme. We think what holds women back in politics is a lack of understanding of how politics works. It is about networks, abut having confidence through knowledge and about women having aspirations about themselves.
• “This political education programme is going to make a big difference about the talent coming through in our public life. Ed called the 22 women on the programme this year, as “22 cracks in the glass ceiling” which was a brilliant way to describe it. The fact we have launched the campaign in the Shadow Cabinet Room shows where the political activity is taking place. These women already have the confidence to be leaders in their own communities as well as having aspirations for themselves and others. In terms of the Labour party, further reform is only going to happen when people bring forward their own experiences and say what needs to change.”

Nadine Dorries MP

• Nadine Dorries MP said: “Given the over-sexualisation of our culture with young girls and boys bombarded by images of sex from a very early age, from TV images, to sound bites on radio to teenage magazine discussing “the position of the week”, to Prime Time TV, I felt in an over-sexualised culture with the pressure on girls to say “yes”, we needed to introduced a Bill on “Sex Education” that gave teenagers an option other than to say “yes”. There should be a rhetoric which is acceptable which is about they could say “no”.”
• “One of the reasons I brought forward this Bill was that a 14 year old girl said to me, could she still be a virgin at 18? The expectation is imposed on girls by boys that they should say “yes”, and that sex education does not disabuse them of this. Seven year olds are being taught how to apply a condom to a banana. We want them to know sex is illegal under the age of 16, and that they can wait until they are in love or in a relationship. “
• “I don’t call it social progress when teenage children have dropped onto their mobile phones explicit images, technology has tipped the balance. There is no comparison to the 70s, we live in a different world and it is a dangerous one for young women. Now teenage pregnancy and abortion are at their highest rates ever, women deserve better than this. When many women spend their old age in poverty having achieved nothing in their lives, then I think feminism was not a good thing.”
• “I was very disappointed in Ken’s comment, this notion that varying degrees of rape are codified in law is right, but it is just wrong, it is totally wrong. He was wrong in what he said, and wrong that he smiled when he said it, and wrong in the lack of understanding that he had at the trauma a woman goes through in rape. It was cringe worthy! I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me. Why a man would be making such comments I have no idea. Rape is a problem in society the perception that men believe that women should have sex is a result of an over-sexualised culture. I want to bring some sense of reason into the way we live now to protect young girls.”
• “Mary Whitehouse, was a well known television campaigner, Joan Bakewell now says she was right, we are saying there has to be something to push the agenda back. I am not going to stop I am going to keep banging on about this.”

Rachel Reeves MP

• Rachel Reeves MP said: “There are 57 year old women, many of them already working part time to care for elderly parents or young grandchildren, they have taken time out to look after their children and they were not allowed to contribute into an occupational pension scheme, as they were working part time, but they are being penalised again. These changes will cost them up to £15,000. “
• “The Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, said they could claim state benefits but they don’t want a hand out they want the pension they have contributed to and fairness and justice. The jobseeker’s allowance is worth just half of what the pension is so it is a very poor substitute! These women are the Big Society in action, they are not in a position to increase their working hours, they are really worrying.”

Baroness Sal Brinton

• Baroness Sal Brinton said: ”The really good news is that we are already oversubscribed on on “Inspiration weekends”. I am encouraged that we have lots of strong women out there wanting to be an MP. We are also speaking to our local parties and regional organisations and the message from them is that they are ready too.
• “We have agreed to do some form of twinning, not our target seats, we are much smaller than the other parties so that would be a problem. We are not calling it twinning but “groupings” to ensure we get men and women and ethnic minority candidates into seats.
• “ I would be astonished if what the Fabian’s are saying is true, our women MPs are not going to be wiped out, we do not have uniform swings. It has never been the case in the past it will not be the case now their report was an election gimmick.”
• “In the Lords I will be banging on about education and making sure we improve standards and our children get the education they deserve and about International Development too.”
• On the proposal from Baroness Worthington a Labour MP to breastfeed in the Lords Baroness Brinton said: “Women have certain roles when they have to have their children around them, and it might be nice for Lords Reform to tackle this serious inequality in the future. I am now disabled and I have found the Lords very welcoming and very helpful but I think on some of the women’s issues, particularly breast feeding we do need to come into the 21st Century.”

Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show in March 2011 for the previous 6 months we are consistently getting over 2500 visits per month. Downloads have ranged between 25GB and 36GB per month.
2. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content. We have over 500,000 hits in a year.
3. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item and they enjoy our documentary making too. In March 2011 there were 1,250 downloads of individual podcasts, with our top ten downloads published on our site.
4. The top four downloads show our cross-party appeal to our listeners: 1. Hazel Blears Interview 203 2. Sally Keeble How the budget is helping grandparents 171 3. Theresa May Interview 159 4. Anne Begg Parliamentary Education Service Question Time 123. 5 Anne Begg – Parliamentary reform and MPs expenses. The ERS documentary on women MPs had 99 downloads.

5. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

6. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

7. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

8. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.

A Baroness soup kitchen and women in the Congo!

PRESS RELEASE
http://www.wpradio.co.uk
Women’s Parliamentary Radio

May 6th 2011

A very determined Baroness sets up a soup kitchen in the House of Lords and a new report on violence against women in the Congo goes to all MPs.

Could you cook a lunch for just 33p? Eating for £1 a day to relieve world poverty.

Baroness Anne Jenkin of Kennington, has a reputation for her work fundraising for charities. It is not surprising then that within weeks of putting on her “Red Robes and Ermine” she could be found in a small kitchen along a corridor several flights of stairs up in the Lords cooking a lunch for her fellow Peers and supporters that cost just 33p.

Baroness Jenkin, was taking up the challenge put down by the “Below the Line” charities fighting poverty around the World: RESULTS UK, Christian Aid, Think Global, Restless Development, and Salvation Army (International Development), to live off just £1 a day for food and drink. 1.4 billion people have no choice but to live their lives below the poverty line.

Anne’s “good housekeeping” 33p a day “soup kitchen” in the Lords managed to provide not just a filling soup, but pita bread, cheese and tomatoes to her “hungry” colleagues too.

Baroness Jenkin was joined by Baroness Trish Morris, Baroness Judith Jolly, helper Dorothy Tyson, and four younger supporters Guy Kirkpatrick, Mayti Navellou, Ashli Alberty, and Kathryn Llewellyn. Our intrepid ww.wpradio.co.uk reporter Linda Fairbrother went to join them and taste the soup but first she began to smell it as she found her way to that kitchen. Recipes on http://www.livebelowtheline.org.uk

Baroness Jenkin told Linda: “I think lots of Peers work in Kitchens. I have prepared lunch for all the Peers who are participating in this campaign, which was started by the Global Poverty Project and it is also a fundraising campaign for all the Charities working with them. I have raised £5,000 for Restless Development, which I am a Patron of, and I have hit my target.

“The £ a day is the World Bank’s definition of the poverty line, and it is quite a challenge for us but much more of a challenge for those who have to really do it. You spend so much time putting things in and out of your shopping basket and working it out down to the last penny.

“ Today’s lunch is a 32p lunch, and the soup is based on frozen vegetables, potatoes, onion, stock cubes, half a can of baked beans and some rice. I have spent a lot of time researching this. We also have pita bread, pate and soft cheese and yoghurt – it is quite a decent lunch. If you haven’t as much time to research it down to the last penny you are left struggling.”

The Million Women Rise coalition report on violence in the Congo.

The Million Women Rise coalition went to Westminster recently to present their findings of their recent trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. There will be Presidential elections in the Congo at the end of this year, and their report on their trip “Congo:..The road to Mwenga”, which has five tough recommendations, will be presented to Parliament soon by the Chair of that meeting, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Vice Chair of the All Party Human Rights Group (APPG).

The trip was part of the Third International Action of the World March of Women that involved women from 48 countries. The Million Women Rise coalition report and film of the trip aims to address the realities of sexual and gender-based violence for Congolese women as well as strategies for ensuring that those who commit them are brought to justice. Our Executive Producer, Boni Sones spoke to the speakers and audience.

Fact file: “The UK government effectively monitors and evaluates the impact of UK tax payers’ contribution of 1 million dollars a day spent in the DR Congo. But it “does not reach women who have been raped or improve prospects for the future”.

Jeremy Corbyn MP told Boni: “The women gave a very good account of their visit to the Congo, and they want Parliament to be more involved in holding the government to account in how money is pent by DFID and the Foreign Office and they want our MPs to be more involved. I am going to summaries their five recommendations into an Early Day Motion and ask colleagues to sign it and give public support to what the women have reported on and that puts pressure on the government to do more. This is democracy in action and pressure in action and I am pleased to be part of it.

“The rape of women in the Congo is the worst in the World, the largest number of people who have been killed in any conflict since the First World War is in the Congo. This is a catastrophe that has been going on for a very long time and the World needs to know about it. “

To sign a petition on the Congo, to be sent to Equalities Minister and international Violence Against Women champion, Lynne Featherstone MP – see http://www.congonow.org/actionpage/lynne-featherstone-sgbv-en

Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show in March 2011 for the previous 6 months we are consistently getting over 2500 visits per month. Downloads have ranged between 25GB and 36GB per month.
2. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content. We have over 500,000 hits in a year.
3. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item and they enjoy our documentary making too. In March 2011 there were 1,250 downloads of individual podcasts, with our top ten downloads published on our site.
4. The top four downloads show our cross-party appeal to our listeners: 1. Hazel Blears Interview 203 2. Sally Keeble How the budget is helping grandparents 171 3. Theresa May Interview 159 4. Anne Begg Parliamentary Education Service Question Time 123. 5 Anne Begg – Parliamentary reform and MPs expenses. The ERS documentary on women MPs had 99 downloads.

5. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

6. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

7. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

8. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.

“Dear Zari”: Women in Afghanistan

http://www.wpradio.co.uk
Women’s Parliamentary Radio

April 27th 2011

For immediate release

http://www.wpradio.co.uk talks to Author and journalist Zarghuna Kargar: “Dear Zari – Hidden Stories from Women of Afghanistan”

Afghan Women’s Hour journalist Zarghuna Kargar has just published her new book “Dear Zari”. Based on 13 real life stories of women in Afghanistan today, including her own, she tells how these heart-breaking and empowering stories are transforming women’s lives, simply through their “telling”.

Zarghuna was part of the first team of journalists to report for Afghan Women’s Hour which in two years became the second most popular programme on the Radio. The telling of stories and the sharing of experiences through radio has transformed the lives of many women and their families.

Zarghuna, who now lives in London, tells our Executive Producer, Boni Sones OBE, how every time she wrote or read lines in the book tears came to her eyes.

“I hope my book is read with care because there are so many hurt feelings involved in these emotions, hurt feelings of me and women in the book.” Boni spoke to Zarghuna at the Cambridge Wordfest event as they sat by the river bank.

Published by Chatto & Windus in early May 2011: Amazon: Hardback £11.29 or £8.31 Paperback. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dear-Zari-Stories-Women-Afghanistan/dp/0701184698.

Zarghuna told Boni:

• “Emotionally it was very hard, just listening to those women and hearing about their experiences was very touching for me as an Afghanistan woman. Meeting women as a woman journalist in Afghanistan, is not so hard, because I would just go to neighbours in Kabul, and people living around me and working with me. I talked to women who had suffered in attacks of war, or women achievers in Afghanistan.”

• “All of these stories I tell have affected me in a very personal way. One woman married a gay man, and was struggling to get a life without a husband. This convenience marriage to a gay man, was a very difficult life and she wanted to get divorced, but because she was not educated she found it very difficult. Divorce is a very big taboo in Afghanistan, and I went through a divorce too. It really touched me emotionally because I made those decisions in my own life which is against my traditions and against my society.”

• “I found these women were brave. Sometimes I couldn’t imagine that people would go through so much and have such resilience and yet be able to think about positive things for their children and grandchildren. There is a story of a kite maker, a widow, the war left many widows, and some of them are forced to beg on the streets, But after her husband died in a car crash, she decided to make kites with her children in the house and sell them. In the kite running season she is getting money and helping her children to get an education by buying paper, and pens and books for them.”

• “I believe the media has great affect, especially the BBC, because it is one of the most trusted organisations in Afghanistan. The Afghan women’s hour was a lifeline for those women, it was the first time many of them had spoken in front of a microphone and their voice went on air.”

• “The Afghanistan woman’s hour became the second most listened to programme in just two years. Grandmothers used to tell their grandsons: “Can you tell Zarghuna Kargar that we like those programmes, we feel that you are telling stories about our life”. These women were role models for a lot of other women in Afghanistan, for instance, the carpet weaving women who gave opium to their babies so that they could work the long hours required. These small experiences women shared brought great change in their life and in my life.”

• “I remember speaking to two mothers who sons had died in the wars, their experiences were exactly the same even though they were fighting for different sides. Their feelings of loss were greater than what they were fighting for – the affects of it were the same for the two mothers, even though their sons fought each other and for different reasons.”

• “Now we have a Parliament with women members, millions of girls are going to schools, women are working as teachers and doctors and for me it is a positive change, women can earn a living. Years ago a women couldn’t come out of the home without a man, so there is a positive change now, and if the laws that have been enacted are implemented it will bring change. “

• “Please don’t forget women in policy making. Women’s freedoms and rights are the most important part of democracy. They shouldn’t be forgotten. For years Afghan women lost education and it has left a great impact. Whenever I went to try to recruit reporters for the programme it was so difficult to find educated women.”

• “Every time I wrote the stories I cried mostly, it touched my feelings, sometimes I was scared about what the would say about the things I was writing, every time I wrote, it was a difficult time emotionally for me. I hope my book is read with care because there are so many hurt feelings involved in these emotions, hurt feelings of me and women in the book.”

Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show in March 2011 for the previous 6 months we are consistently getting over 2500 visits per month. Downloads have ranged between 25GB and 36GB per month.
2. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content. We have over 500,000 hits in a year.
3. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item and they enjoy our documentary making too. In March 2011 there were 1,250 downloads of individual podcasts, with our top ten downloads published on our site.
4. The top four downloads show our cross-party appeal to our listeners: 1. Hazel Blears Interview 203 2. Sally Keeble How the budget is helping grandparents 171 3. Theresa May Interview 159 4. Anne Begg Parliamentary Education Service Question Time 123. 5 Anne Begg – Parliamentary reform and MPs expenses. The ERS documentary on women MPs had 99 downloads.

5. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

6. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

7. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

8. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.