We all know that the campaign continues to get better and more effective representation of women in public and political life. However, women are half the population and half the workforce in the UK yet we still only make up 22 per cent of the House of Commons and just 15 out of the 55 general secretaries of the trade unions affiliated to the TUC.
But we don’t simply need to campaign and take action to improve women’s political representation. In the drive to make democracy more representative, we also need to get more women politically active online.
Written exclusively by women, LeftOut seeks to re-dress the current gender imbalance in political blogging. A recent Hansard paper, Gender and Digital Politics, examined the online participation of men and women and found that a staggering 80 per cent of political media blogs are by men; 85 per cent of individual blogs in Total Politics Political Blog Awards 2010 were written by men, and only 17 per cent of Labour bloggers are women. Although alarmingly, Labour fairs slightly better than either the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats whose women blogger figures stand at a paltry 9 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
LeftOut is calling on women of the Left to unite online and write online. The blog aims to be a means to empower, support and encourage the confidence of women who have never considered or felt able to blog before to begin to contribute their thoughts and experiences in an environment in which they feel comfortable. We recognise that you don’t have to be a political or policy expert to have something valuable to say or share.
LeftOut will provide a platform for a wide range of women on the Left to boost their representation in the blogging world, helping to ensure that women are at the heart of politics, not left looking in from the outside.
Hannah Blythyn & Amy Jackson