Guest Editor Dame Anne Begg interviews women MPs in Kenya

January 28th 2011
For immediate release

A first for internet broadcasting – http://www.wpradio.co.uk invites our Guest Editor of 2011 Dame Anne Begg to interview women MPs in the Kenyan Parliament

http://www.wpradio. co.uk’s first Guest Editor Dame Anne Begg interviews four women MPs from the Kenyan Parliament.

In our new Global podcast broadcast series of 2011 http://www.wpradio.co.uk will be inviting women MPs from the UK Parliament to interview women MPs from other Parliaments all over the World. Technology now allows these “hook-ups” with relative ease compared to broadcasting conventions of the past.

When Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, Chair of the Works and Pensions Select Committee, met a delegation of women from the Kenyan Parliament recently to talk about how Committees work in the UK Parliament, she invited them to be interviewed in this new series and they agreed. They were the guest of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK.

There are now 22 women MPs in Kenya, 10 per cent of the 222 MPs in all. Six of these 22 are nominated, to represent special interests.

The Kenyan women MPs went on strike in 2003 when they were banned from taking their handbags into the Kenyan Parliament. They argued handbags were part of their “attire” and the ban was lifted.

Here Anne asks the delegation abut the ban, and changing family structures in a global world that is now allowing women to take out bank accounts and giving them new rights to the inheritance of land. The responsibilities of men are now changing too.

That all important new Kenyan Constitution and Bill of Rights approved in 2010, gives people new rights to “self actualisation”. This will lead to more women in the Parliament, and the allocation of 47 safe seats for women, one for each County, and 16 women in the newly created Senate House.

Dame Anne, the first full-time wheelchair user in Westminster, spoke to Hon. Dr Joyce Laboso MP, Hon. Shakila Abdalla MP, Hon. Linah Jebii Kilimo MP, Hon. Rachel Shebesh MP. This podcast broadcast was produced by Boni Sones OBE.

Dr Joyce Laboso MP spoke for her colleagues when she said: “We currently have ten per cent of women in our Parliament, six of which are nominated by the political parties to represent special interests. We really are excited about what the new Constitution has offered to us, we know it is not going to be easy, we have to do a lot of civic education and capacity building for women to take up the positions at National and local level. We will start to change the World in 2011 the anniversary of 100 years of International Women’s Day but there is a lot to do to make the changes happen.”

Dame Anne Begg, who sits on the Advisory Board of http://www.wpradio.co.uk said: “It is an exciting time for broadcasting through the web and by allowing women MPs themselves to be “Guest Editors” http://www.wpradio.co.uk is giving us a public voice to explore the issues that affect and impact on women in countries and Parliaments all over the Globe.

“We can share our experiences and our voices, and by joining together in this way the World will seem a smaller more accessible place, where our stories really do matter to one-another and can change how we conduct affairs and what issues we decide to bring to the fore in our respective parliaments. That handbag protest was a small thing but very symbolic for the Kenyan women in the same way getting Ladies toilets in the voting lobbies was the big change here. Thanks to http://www.wpradio for allowing us this thought provoking opportunity that audiences can listen to all over the Globe, via a computer or a mobile phone application.”

Executive Producer of http://www.wpradio.co.uk Boni Sones OBE said:” Thanks to Dame Anne and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK for this “gem” of a podcast broadcast interview with four members of the Kenyan Parliament. Listening to Anne hearing about their handbag protest and in turn telling her story of how women here had to fight to get more Ladies loos in Westminster shows how close our goal of creating a Global village for women MPs via broadcasting though the internet has become. It was a dream when we started broadcasting four years ago and we have now made that dream become a reality. “

Next week Jo Swison, the Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire will be interviewing Lindiwee Mazibuko MP of the Democratic Alliance Party South Africa.

Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show that in May 2010 we had our highest audience ever with 3,913 visitors, there were over 1,000 more visitors in June and July too compared to last year and even August increased. 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.

2. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item. We have doubled our audience in a year. In July we published our Top Ten podcasts for that month. The top 8 all had over 100 downloads per podcast. Shirley Williams is hugely popular with 777 listeners to one podcast! The Oona King diaries are proving popular too.

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

4. 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.

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

6. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.
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Emma Bonino – Iraq Vigil and International Women’s Day

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

For immediate release
January 24th 2011

Emma Bonino – Vice President of the Italian Senate – Iraq Vigil and 100 years of International Women’s Day

Emma Bonino, Vice President of the Italian Senate, and a Radical Party member, flew into London to join an all night vigil against the Iraq war, while Tony Blair was giving evidence to the Iraq inquiry.

She is known for her work on human and civil rights issues, such as “against hunger in the world” and for her campaigns for women’s rights including campaigning against female genital mutilation. She is also a founding member of “No Peace without Justice”, supporting the creation of the International Criminal Court. She has received several international awards, including the “2004 Open Society Prize” for her outstanding achievements as a female world leader.

In an Exclusive interview she tells Boni Sones OBE, Executive Producer of http://www.wpradio.co.uk why she joined the vigil and why she will be “passionately” supporting 100 years of International Women’s day in March 2011! On Iraq she said:

• “We have been collecting a substantial dossier since February 2003, and all the papers and reports we have, make it possible that the initiative of the Emirates plus Jordan and Saudi’s had convinced Saddam Hussein to go into exile and it would have been possible to avoid the war. This is not new evidence, but we have been campaigning and distributing this dossier for two or three years, and we knew that in February 2003 President Bush had told others that he had been told Saddam was willing to go and it was a possibility at that time. I was at that time living in Cairo and I perfectly remember the meetings of the Arab leagues concerned.”

• “I am not in a position to make any particular judgement on the Iraq Inquiry, but I am concerned the private letters between Blair and Bush have not been made public and the Ministry has kept them secret, I am disturbed by this. Also I am disturbed by the fact that the simple question of whether Tony Blair knew Saddam was willing to go into exile has never been asked.”

• “People understand the position to go into the War was a political decision and not substantiated – weapons of mass destruction have never been found. Hans Blix said the Iraqi’s had opened the doors and were co-operating, but the UK side said inspections were useless, so I think people had the feeling going into war was not properly motivated.”

• “The real tool that we have is to say the truth matters, then we can put this to rest. We should not hide anything, democracy should be more open and more transparent. For the moment we are still fighting to get the truth out, and we are trying to have an Iraq commission too in Italy and using the tools in place.”

• “I think transparency is very important and to state the truth is the best way to make governments more careful next time they are facing such a decision. Impunity is not a good way forward, and if the truth comes next time everybody will be more cautious.”

On 100 years of International Women’s Day in March 2011 Emma Bonino said:

• “There is much more activity on women’s rights in Africa and even in the Arab World…where I think there is less activity is in parts of the European World, but I must say I see a lot of movement and determination in other parts of the World where women are willing to take their place in their societies.”

• “I think sometimes you have periods in some societies where the women’s movement is more vibrant and luckily there are women in other parts of the World who are active on their own so the campaign “Women on the Bridge” on International Women’s Day in March is very, very, important to me.”

• “I strongly believe that in many parts of the World, the women are the element for change so I think continuing to be interested in women is not diminishing in a political career I think it is a fantastic tool – I cannot avoid it I am so interested and so passionate. Women’s rights can make a better World.”
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Keeping climate change on the agenda – Meg Hillier MP!

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

For immediate release
January 23rd 2011

Women’s Parliamentary Radio http://www.wpradio.co.uk asks Meg Hillier MP, how climate change can be kept on the political agenda and we set out our new global broadcasting role in 2011!

Meg Hillier, the Labour and Co-operative MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch since 2005, is the Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. A panellist in the recent Fabian Society debate on: “Green Gloom: how do we win the argument for the planet?” Meg says she’s optimistic about our ability to change our habits and that people care deeply about the environmental legacy they hand down to their children and their children’s children.

She told Boni Sones OBE, our Executive Producer that it’s “vital” not to play party politics with the planet, and reminds us all as the New Year begins that by reducing our energy consumption we are also reducing our domestic household bills. Meg told Boni:

• “We care about what our children will inherit – we want to know our children and our children’s children won’t be paying the price for our children’s consumption and we all have to address that question now. On the doorstep people often raise concerns about their family, their children and their grand-children, they do care about the next generation and I do think we need to push that issue because it does resonate.”
• “The devil is in the detail, and I talk a lot to Ed Miliband about this. The government has said it’s not going to junk everything Labour did on the Environment but we see them dither and while they dither opportunities are lost. I think we all have to take responsibility and governments should have done something quicker, but I think this Government has got to get cracking as we have to change habits and reduce consumption massively. The “Green Deal” is going through Parliament, which seeks to encourage us to reduce our energy consumption at home, but we have to make sure it matches with human behaviour and gets the incentives right to make sure the stick is right to bite. “
• “Broadly we want to support the Government in carbon reduction, we all want to achieve this. I have a role to play in protecting this generation and future generations around the World, it is vital we don’t play petty party politics with that!”
• “We need to ask ourselves – do we need to turn that plug on, or that switch off? It will also have an impact on our bills, so if we encourage people to do that it will begin to bite. We call it 2011 the year the government needs to make decisions and hopefully it will be decisions that we will back!”

In 2011 http://www.wpradio.co.uk goes global!

http://www.wpradio.co.uk also started the New Year with two new broadcasts setting out a new global agenda for our listeners. We will soon be broadcasting interviews with women politicians here speaking to women in other parliaments through our “guest editor” approach.

Our http://www.wpradio.co.uk reporter Linda Fairbrother started off the New Year by looking at the work of “Women for Women International”. She spoke to Director of Policy Britta Schmidt about the role of women in Afghanistan. Britta told Linda:

• “I think the picture of how women’s lives in Afghanistan has changed over the last ten years is very varied, we have seen some gains, I think 25 per cent of the parliament are women, and we have seen many losses too. From our perspective where we work on the ground with many thousands of women who are socially excluded it is a bleak picture.”

Executive Director Kate Nustedt then told Linda about their “Join Me on the Bridge” campaign linked to the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day 8th March 2011.All women MPs and men are being invited to join them. Do listen. Find out more: http://www.womenforwomen.org. Kate told Linda:

• “It was an amasing coming together of women all around the World 100 years ago, when they marked the day. It is now a much much bigger deal in many countries in Africa and South Asia, it is only in the USA and the UK and other parts of Europe that it has gone relatively un-noticed. We are saying on the 8th March 2011 it is now the time to mark this anniversary. We want to be as powerful and as significant as all the Suffragettes were all those years ago. So “Join me on the Bridge” is a campaign started last year when our Country Directors in Congo and Rwanda got together on the bridge that connects the two countries, to show how we can build the bridge of peace for the future. We said we would love to be part of that two, and there were 108 events worldwide.”

Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show that in May 2010 we had our highest audience ever with 3,913 visitors, there were over 1,000 more visitors in June and July too compared to last year and even August increased. 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.

2. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item. We have doubled our audience in a year. In July we published our Top Ten podcasts for that month. The top 8 all had over 100 downloads per podcast. Shirley Williams is hugely popular with 777 listeners to one podcast! The Oona King diaries are proving popular too.

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

4. 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.

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

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