The Women’s Equality Party second conference took place in from 7th – 9th September 2018. It was only my second political conference too. In 2016, on the day that all the motions were presented, I watched and learned how the process went ahead and left determined that an area that the party hadn’t yet focused on wouldn’t be overlooked next time – societal under-appreciation of arts and with it the devaluing of girls and women who study and work in arts and humanities.
The subject of arts in schools and arts in life is very close to my heart. And it needs all the advocates it can get right now as it is under attack by the current Westminster government – so much so that arts in schools is in massive decline, despite the fact that creative industries are creating new real and meaningful jobs that will serve society in the 21st century.
I’ve been a member of the What Next movement promoting the place of arts and culture as part of a civic society since 2013. Activism with that movement crosses over with my campaigning for WEP and has informed my decision to become a Governor in a state secondary STEM school. So it was a no-brainer and a matter of urgency for me, when this conference came around, to put forward a motion which aims to bring a genuinely Equal Education policy. I am indebted to many people for helping make this happen and in particular to Deborah Mason who has been part of the conversations in What Next and in WEP.
The motion passed and WEP has now formally adopted STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts and Design, Maths) as core to all children’s education to age 16. The motion further calls on the Westminster Government to drop the Ebacc which is detrimental to children studying arts and humanities and also fails on a number of measures to offer 21st century children a 21st century education. WE are the first political party to make this commitment and it is a meaningful step forward to an equal society.
You can find the motion and the rationale here:
You can read the proposition speech I gave to support it STEM To STEAM speech RMJ
And there are some very good resources here to understand the territory further. Arts and humanities need every advocate they can find. You can play your role by using the resources from #baccforthefuture and the Cultural Learning Alliance to write to your local representatives and school governing bodies.