It’s been 25 days since Baroness Kinnock was appointed to her new role leading the Government’s work on tackling violence against women and girls overseas, following the launch of ActionAid’s report and recommendations calling for the position. In a candid interview this morning on Woman’s Hour Baroness Kinnock spoke to Jenni Murray about why she is so passionate about the need for this ministerial role, what she has been up to since her appointment and how she hopes the work will go forward.
During the course of the interview Jenni Murray raised an important question: what will happen to the job if Labour loses the upcoming election?
At the Eaves Women’s Question Time (pdf) a few weeks ago with all the potential Women’s Ministers, the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party representatives each talked about how important they thought the role was and pledged to maintain it if they came into government. Theresa May MP, who is currently Shadow Minister for Women, was less sure about what the Conservative Party would do if elected.
The important work of taking this agenda on in a serious way has already begun: Baroness Kinnock has been to New York to speak to UNIFEM about the UK’s plans and commitment, she has spoken to the President of the DRC about the challenges facing women in the country and what can be done, and has met with NGOs like ActionAid about how the UK Government can implement its ambitions for the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which has its 10th anniversary this October.
In the weeks leading up to the election, it will be important to raise the profile of global violence against women and girls with all the political parties to ensure that this significant gain – a ministerial role that is focused on the UK’s foreign policy – is not lost. Whoever the next Government is.