THE women of the borough are being called upon to take an active role in politics following the launch of Wigan Labour Party Women’s Forum.
The female-only forum was set up last September and has more than 20 members who regularly meet up to discuss issues which affect women in the borough, which include the impact of academies in Wigan, cuts to library services and job losses.
Other issues at the forefront of the forum include campaigning against cuts in child support and social care, changes in tax credits and benefits, domestic violence, and cuts to the IVF programme.
The forum is now holding a mass meeting on Saturday, March 5 to celebrate women’s achievements through International Women’s Day.
Sheila Ramsdale, women’s officer in Wigan, said: “We set up six months ago after we had been trying to organise a forum for a few years.
“Now, women are flocking in because of the change in government and all the cuts.
“We want more women to join and one day become councillors,
“All these issues and cuts the Government is bringing in affect women directly, because of job losses and cuts in tax and child benefits.
“The Government is proposing to abolish the Child Support Agency. This will push most single mothers and their children further into poverty.
“Older women are hit more than men by cuts in pension credit. We want to see strong local campaigns to highlight these.”
Sue Turner, the wife of former Wigan Labour MP Neil Turner, is also a member.
She said: “I am a long standing member of the Labour party and women’s sections have been in Wigan on and off since the beginning.
“We have set up again in response to the new coalition government and how some policies have adversely affected women and their families.
Women of all backgrounds and political persuasions are invited to celebrate International Women’s Day with the forum at the Unite Office, 100 Hallgate, Wigan, between 10am and 12noon on Saturday, March 5. Wigan’s first female MP Lisa Nandy will be the guest speaker, along with a woman from Zimbabwe discussing her life in the country.