Last week Meg Hillier the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch dropped by to our meeting. That makes it sound really informal and friendly – but it was. She was just one of us.
Not as well known in the media as her Hackney MP counterpart, Dianne Abbott, Meg gave us some wise words about what’s like to be a female MP and a whistle-stop tour of her career. She stayed right until the end so there’s not enough room to tell all here (plus some things that are said at the WI stay at the WI – that’s a good reason to join, hint, hint).
The things that stood out most I thought were:
- She was the first woman in her family (of ten siblings!) to go to university. The second was her mum!
- She juggles being a mum of three with a HUGE job, but was very clear about saying how she’s just like any other working mum and so she can understand all the issues and fights for them at her workplace.
- What she loves the best? Her surgery and being out and about with her constituents.
- There’s a real sisterhood amongst all the female politicians (there were gasps from most of the group about this).
- But the leitmotif throughout the night was that we need more women to get involved in politics on all levels from being councillors on up. How? Women should encourage women along the way, but she’s highlighted that she’s had some great male mentors too and what’s most important is to inspire more women to get into politics.
Thanks for the visit Meg – we’ll take you up on the offer to come back.
For those of you who missed the meeting we want to remind you that we have a stall at the St. Peters Christmas Fair organised by the De Beauvoir Association. The knitting and Jewellery clubs have been busy making items to sell but we are looking for lots more donations from our members. Crafts, home made cards, preserves and pickles, bagged treats – all donations for our Christmas stall will be greatly received. The DBA are looking for donations of sweet and savoury fayre for their tea stall so if you can’t resist a bake you know where to take it.
We have decided that it would be a great idea to make jams, preserves and marmalade so we can build up a store for our various stall activities. We need you to collect jam jars which can be brought along to meetings, and we are looking for anyone who is expert enough to teach small teams the basics. If you know what you are doing or want to help (or learn) let us know so we can put some teams together. Lastly if you know of anyone with surplus produce give us a shout, we might be too late this year but we need to be on the case in 2016!
On the third we will be celebrating Christmas with a range of crafts to try out plus mince pies and mulled wine.