We Belong Here: Women’s Takeover of the Senedd

Monday November 6th, 2023

by Maddie Darlington, WEN Wales Policy Intern from Cardiff University

WEN Wales, in partnership with Elect Her and the Senedd, held an inspirational, informative, and motivating event at the Senedd on 21st October as women took over the Senedd. Bringing together women in all their diversity to further the cause for diverse and equal leadership in our politics, the day was jam-packed with fascinating workshops, speakers, and performances.

The day began with a session in the Senedd’s Siambr, with many attendees able to sit in the Siambr itself for the first time – with the hope of one day sitting there as a Member of the Senedd. During the session attendees heard from keynote speakers including Chair of the Women’s Caucus Joyce Watson MS, Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt MS, and Councillor Sara Pickard. Fatmanur Aksoy (Welsh Youth Parliament), Sioned Williams MS, Dr Bablin Molik, Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn MS, and Fay Jones MP took part in an insightful panel session as they shared their lived experiences from their journey to their current position, giving a true taste of what it’s like to be a woman in politics. There was a clear buzz following this session, and it was an evident motivator for many in attendance to hear from these women as role models about the challenges they have overcome and show that it is possible to be in their position.

Following the panel session performances from Bethan Williams, the Oasis choir, and Krystal Lowe kept the atmosphere alive as attendees enjoyed some delicious food and connected with one another as a diverse community of women.

The afternoon was filled by two rounds of workshop sessions on a range of subjects, such as activism, equal representation toolkits and getting started in politics. The workshops included group tasks and a reflection time, with another valuable chance to hear from women making an impact in political and public life. The second round of workshops were themed around identity and experience and featured discussions about disabled women in politics, LGBTQ+ people in politics and sessions for different age ranges, including a workshop for young women to consider their political future.

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us on Saturday 21st October for an inspiring day of empowering and informative discussions, talks and workshops. Wherever you are on your political journey, we want We Belong Here to be the start of you taking that next step.

We would love to hear from you about your experience of the day. This will help us improve future events. If you registered, please check your inbox for an email from Eventbrite with the link to our short feedback survey.

If you haven’t already, we would love for you to join the WEN Wales and Elect Her networks so we can help you move forward on your political journey. If you’re not yet a member of WEN Wales, you can stay in touch with us and the vibrant WEN membership network by joining here for free! Together, let’s work for a Wales free from gender discrimination.

We would like to say a big thank you to our main event sponsors, the National Lottery Community Fund and Welsh Government. We would also like to thank Wales TUC, The Democracy Network, and Electoral Reform Society Cymru for their kind sponsorship.