On Friday the 13th of March, Lilian Greenwood held a talk at the Nottingham Tennis Centre in collaboration with the UoNSU’s Women’s Network to discuss the role that women can play in politics, as well as her flourishing career as a politician.
In her speech Lilian praised the achievements that have enabled women to push forward in the field of politics, including it being 100 years since the first woman councillor was elected to Nottingham City Council, and how that same council is now made up of more women than men. Lilian has herself been a female role model in this regard, being the first woman MP in Nottingham, representing Nottingham South. She does however believe that she wouldn’t have achieved this if it weren’t for the fact that she was on an all women shortlist trying to counteract mens wider dominance in the political field.
“She began to use her voice to bring about change during the 1992 election”
Speaking on how she first got into politics, Lilian recalled how she had an interest in politics as a student but only plucked up the courage to get involved in local constituency meetings and campaigning after graduating. She began to use her voice to bring about change during the 1992 election, becoming a trade union representative tackling the male-dominated preconceptions of what trade unionists looked like. These experiences for Lilian meant the early parts of her career were spent looking up to her fellow trade unionists rather than the typical politicians that inspired her peers.
“Lilian emphasised the importance of constituency work”
When asked how she recommends students to get involved in politics, Lilian emphasised the importance of constituency work, highlighting that though it’s viewed as less glamorous it is still imperative in gaining an understanding of the issues that are important to local constituents. She also encouraged female students not to hold themselves back in politics and to seek active involvement in constituency meetings, noting “it’s better to do it and decide you hate it than to not do it at all”.
Whilst Lilian believes that there is still a long way to go in terms of gender equality and the pay gap in politics, she praises ongoing commitments to encourage female employment, including mens taking of more parental leave and support of women chasing executive positions.