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info@genderbalance.org.uk

Campaign for Gender Balance

It's easy to agree that there are too few women in positions of power, but if you want to change that, what can you do?

The Campaign for Gender Balance provides mentoring, training and support for Lib Dem women seeking election. In 2013 we joined forces with Women Liberal Democrats to create a unified and stronger organisation - 'Liberal Democrat Women (LDW)'. The new organisation will continue to support women candidates, but it will also engage in more campaigns, networking and fundraising. You have to be a member of the Liberal Democrat party to join, and until 8th June there is a special introductory offer of £10 to join LDW. Please use the Donate button on this page in order to make a £10 donation and become a LDW member.

We hope to see some great new talent stand for the Executive so please get in touch if you are interested by emailing diversity@libdems.org.uk in the first instance. Make sure you also check out our Facebook Page!

If you would like to sign up for our monthly email newsletter, including training information, candidate selection updates and tips from senior Party figures, please send a blank email to genderbalance-subscribe@lists.libdems.org.uk

Recent updates

  • key_waste_(800x450).jpeg
    Article: Mar 4, 2015

    Liberal Democrats have announced plans to tackle industrial fly tipping and protect the environment for future generations.

    As part of our plans to introduce Five Green Laws in the next Parliament, Liberal Democrats have unveiled proposals for a Zero Waste Bill.

    The Bill is intended to boost the number of organisations prosecuted for illegal dumping while also introducing a higher, more consistent level of fines for fly-tippers who damage Britain's environment.

  • Article: Mar 4, 2015

    Writing in the Guardian, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg and Richard Branson describe the war on drugs an "abject failure."

    Nick and Richard write that it is time for fresh thinking and ask politicians to embrace the call for reform.

    You can read the article in full below.

    By any standard, the global war on drugs has been an abject failure.

    Since the 'war' was declared by President Nixon in 1971, we have spent over a trillion US dollars trying to eradicate drugs from our societies. Yet the criminal market continues to grow, driving unimaginable levels of profit for organised crime.

    We devote vast police, criminal justice and military resources to the problem, including the incarceration of people on a historically unprecedented scale.

    In many parts of the world, drug violence has become endemic. On the day that Mexican president Nieto is visiting the UK, we should remember the estimated 100,000 people killed in Mexico alone since 2006.

    Yet tragically, the sum total of enforcement efforts against drug supply over the past 40 years has been zero. Efforts at reducing demand have been similarly fruitless.

    Here in the UK, one third of adults have taken illegal drugs and the gangs are doing a roaring trade. The problem simply isn't going away.

    It's no wonder that countries around the world are rethinking their approach. Former prime ministers and presidents are now admitting the mistakes of the past and pushing for change, through the Global Commission on Drug Policy and other bodies.

    Serving politicians are increasingly speaking out, with President Santos of Colombia leading the way. Senior law enforcement officers are starting to question the idea that we can arrest ourselves out of this.

    Perhaps the most startling change has been in the United States, the country that invented the drugs war, where four states have recently voted to tax and regulate cannabis sales.

    Closer to home, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Denmark have all introduced reforms aimed at reducing harm and cutting crime, ranging from heroin prescribing to decriminalisation.

    The West is undergoing a tectonic shift; but the UK seems oblivious to it.

    And yet we desperately need better solutions in this country. One in six children of school age are still taking drugs; 2,000 people die each year in drug-related incidents; the use of unregulated 'legal highs' is rampant.

    At the same time the police are stopping and searching half a million people a year for possession of drugs, prosecutions of users are close to record levels, and prison cells are still used for people whose only crime is the possession of a substance to which they are addicted.

    This costs a lot of money - money which could be better spent on treatment and on redoubling our efforts to disrupt supply. And it wrecks the lives of 70,000 people a year who receive a criminal record for possession and then find themselves unable to get a job.

    As an investment, the war on drugs has failed to deliver any returns. If it were a business, it would have been shut down a long time ago. This is not what success looks like.

    The idea of eradicating drugs from the world by waging a war on those who use them is fundamentally flawed for one simple reason: it doesn't reduce drug taking.

    The Home Office's own research, commissioned by Liberal Democrats in government and published a few months ago, found that "there is no apparent correlation between the 'toughness' of a country's approach and the prevalence of adult drug use".

    This devastating conclusion means that we are wasting our scarce resources, and on a grand scale.

    The standard political response to this is to say that we must stay the course - that if we arrest a few more people, seize a few more shipments, then 'victory' remains in our grasp.

    And conversely, that if we dare to do anything differently then we are playing Russian roulette with people's lives. The gulf between the rhetoric and the reality could not be greater.

    The status quo is a colossal con perpetrated on the public by politicians who are too scared to break the taboo.

    So what is the alternative? For this, we should look to Portugal which removed criminal penalties for drug possession in 2001. Portugal's reforms have not - as many predicted - led to an increase in drug use.

    Instead, they have allowed resources to be re-directed towards the treatment system, with dramatic reductions in addiction, HIV infections and drug-related deaths.

    Drugs remain illegal and socially unacceptable, as they should be, but drug users are dealt with through the civil rather than the criminal law.

    Anyone who is arrested for drug possession is immediately assessed and sent for treatment or education. If they fail to engage, they have to pay a fine.

    The Portuguese system works, and on an issue as important as this, where lives are at stake, governments cannot afford to ignore the evidence.

    We should set up pilots to test and develop a British version of the Portuguese model. The evidence suggests it will be cheaper, more effective at reducing harm, and would allow the police to focus their attention where it should be, on the criminal gangs that supply the drugs.

    Now is the time for politicians of all parties to count the costs of four decades of failure, and embrace the call for reform. If we really want effective solutions to drug markets and to the harm caused by drug use, it will take political courage and fresh thinking.

    Nick Clegg MP and Richard Branson

  • Article: Mar 3, 2015

    Liberal Democrats have set out 17 policies designed to tackle inequalities faced by Britain's ethnic minorities.

    The proposals formed under five key themes covering social and economic issues are collectively called the Liberal Democrat Race Equality Plan. They are designed to sit alongside the party's existing policies to tackle race inequalities.

  • Article: Mar 3, 2015

    Liberal Democrats have announced plans to introduce a new Green Homes Bill which would insulate up to 10 million homes by 2025.

    Under the plans set out for the next Parliament, homeowners would also be offered a Council Tax discount of at least £100 a year for ten years for making their homes greener.

  • key_cycling_invest.gif
    Article: Mar 2, 2015

    Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced £115m in funding for cycling projects across the UK.

    The money will be split between eight major cities, with each using the money to improve the safety and accessibility of their cycle routes.

    This covers:

    • £22m for Birmingham, with plans to build the infrastructure needed to double the number of cycling journeys made there by 2023.
    • £19m for Bristol, with a proposal to improve the city's cycling network and routes across urban areas and Bath.
    • £6m for Cambridge, with plans for new bridge over the River Cam, segregated cycling routes in the city and more links in South Cambridgeshire.
    • £22m for Leeds, with plans to expand its current cycle superhighway and improve links to Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield and York.
    • £22m for Manchester, with plans to develop more than 45km of new or improved cycle routes as phase two of its Cycle City plan.
    • £10.6m for Newcastle, intended to make it easier for cyclists to get to work from in and around the city.
    • £8.4m for Norwich, with plans to redesign 31km of key cycle routes.
    • £3.m for Oxford, intended to provide better links between the city centre and south east of the city.
  • Article: Mar 2, 2015

    Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will host a special radio show tonight (Monday 2 March) on LBC, discussing mental health care in the UK.

    Nick will be on air from 7pm for the one-off show called State of Mind.

    He will interview people with mental health conditions, clinicians, business leaders and a chief constable. He will also be taking comments and questions from callers.

  • Article: Mar 1, 2015

    Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has announced details of a plan to raise an extra £1bn from a supplementary corporation tax charge applied to banks to help finish the job of eliminating the deficit.

    The supplementary charge will be in addition to the existing Bank Levy.

  • key_wind_turbine.jpg
    Article: Mar 1, 2015

    Liberal Democrats have set out plans to double the UK's production of renewable electricity by the end of the next parliament and make Britain zero carbon by 2050.

    This would end the UK's adverse impact on climate change for good.

    In government the Liberal Democrats have already more than doubled the amount of electricity from renewables.

  • Article: Feb 27, 2015

    Speaking at the Welsh Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in Cardiff, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said that the Welsh NHS could benefit from up to £450m extra under his party's plans.

    Accusing the Labour party of failing to support Wales' health service, Nick argued that this extra investment can be used, amongst other things, to support Kirsty Williams' pledge to increase the number of nurses on hospital wards.

  • Article: Feb 27, 2015

    Liberal Democrat Peer Jeremy Purvis has today welcomed the successful progress though the House of Lords of the Lib Dem Bill to enshrine the UK's aid spending target in law.

    The Bill, which was proposed in the Commons by Michael Moore MP and which would ensure 0.7% of the UK's Gross National Income is spend on international aid, cleared its Report Stage despite sustained pressure from a small minority of Peers set on derailing the proposals.