Join the Disability Caucus
Many disabled people are feeling particularly vulnerable right now.
As the Coronavirus lockdown measures ease, and local lockdowns are implemented, there has been very little mention of the next steps for people who have been “shielding”. This won't have come as a surprise to many disabled people who have long been marginalised and ignored by governments and society.
But as members of the Women's Equality Party we have hope that we won't be forgotten. WE fight for the furthest first, because WE know that a society that values people equally is better for everyone.
Which is why we have launched a Women's Equality Party Disability Caucus!
The Disability Caucus has been set up by a small group of disabled party members who see a need for greater disability representation in our party. It will exist to champion the needs of those members both within the party and beyond.
The caucus will be an inclusive space for any party member who self-identifies as disabled or has a long term health condition. No one will be required to disclose the nature of their disability, though they may choose to. We hope to make it accessible to all. Please let us know using the sign up form above if there are any adaptations we can make, to ensure the caucus is accessible to you.
Our objectives will be shaped by our members, so we want to hear from you! What issues most affect you as a disabled person? We are looking forward to hearing your ideas at the meeting!
We hope to make the meeting accessible to all. If you require any adaptations to make this Zoom meeting accessible to you, please let us know via the RSVP form (link above). If you want to listen to the meeting but prefer not to contribute, you are still welcome.
If you do not have a disability or long term health condition then you can still support the caucus by signing up to be an ally.
Disability Caucus at Conference
WE hosted our own fringe event at Conference discussing the Social Model of Disability, and Intersectional Discrimination, presented by Dr Hannah Barham-Brown and Dr Sarabajaya Kumar. Supporting documentation can be found below along with our Caucus Recommends reading/watching/socail media list:
Criteria for recognition
- Caucuses must represent one of the protected characteristics listed on the main caucus page, and will be required to work at the intersection of discrimination against women and the protected characteristic(s) the caucus represents.
- Caucuses must be formed of at least 35 people (reviewed annually) who are both members of the caucus and members of the Women’s Equality Party. This may include allies.
- Caucuses must elect a leader, a data manager and a Steering Committee representative - all of whom must be party members. Only party members within the caucuses are eligible to vote in these elections (registered supporters will not be eligible to vote).
Elected caucus representatives must agree to undertake an induction process with the Central Party and Steering Committee in order to establish good working practices. This will include, but is not limited to:
- Reading and agreeing to various governance procedures, including the party constitution and code of conduct
- Forming lines of communication between central party and recognised caucuses
- Training on various party systems, including the party database
- Reading and following brand guidelines.
Resources and benefits
- A seat on the Steering Committee, including a vote on Steering Committee decisions.
- A single observer seat on the Executive Committee, rotated between any/all recognised caucuses annually.
- Appropriate access to the party database with the ability to email their members on the last Saturday of every month, or at an agreed alternative when necessary.
- One dedicated Women’s Equality Party email address including drive storage and access.
- A dedicated webpage on the party’s website and the ability to upload events to the events page.
- New party members will be invited to opt-in to join caucuses as part of the joining process, and existing party members will be invited to join newly recognised caucuses.
- Caucuses will be able to submit motions, and amendments to motions, at conference.
- Caucuses will have the right to organise a session at conference, in agreement with the agenda committee.
- Opportunities to feed into various party functions and processes including, but not limited to, policy development and manifestos, the agenda committee, public statements, campaigns and media, the democracy commission.
- Central support from the party on use of its database and other infrastructure.
- Access to some of the party’s insurances.
The Race Equality Caucus was set up at the 2018 Women’s Equality Party conference. Its purpose is to bring together Global Ethnic Majority (GEM) members in the party to discuss the issues GEM communities face in the fight for gender and racial equality and ensure GEM voices are heard within the party.
For too long, the fight for equality has been either/or, but the impact of the intersection between gender and race on GEM women, is real and damaging. As a party that stands and fights for equality for all, considering this intersection in every conversation is vital. The Race Equality Caucus exists to ensure this happens, and aims to become a constant voice in every policy consideration, so that eventually, race and women's equality becomes the norm, not the exception.
Audre Lorde wrote "I am not free while any woman is unfree even when her shackles are very different from my own". It is with this sentiment that we share our experiences and have created a space which allows a specific focus on the issues that GEM women face in the fight for gender and racial equality and to ensure our voices are heard within the party.
What is a caucus?
A caucus is a political term that is used for a faction or group within a political party that has a particular focus. Our Caucus is an inclusive space with two key arms:
-Those who identify as from a GEM background can join our Caucus membership
-Those who are white, can join our Race Equality Allies group.
The Race Equality Caucus is a network that aims to support GEM women in their similar and diverse experiences. GEM women are a group that are often forgotten and marginalised, and their challenges and perspectives ignored. This Caucus aims to rectify that and amplify the voices of GEM women so that their experiences are heard and taken on board and shared.
The Race Equality Caucus abhors the oppression of any group of people. We have a commitment to unity and opposing any destructive forces that try to manipulate and divide us. Systems and structures of oppression have always used the divide-and-conquer strategy to maintain their power. As the Race Equality Caucus we are committed to standing together across our identities and actively promoting equity.
Why choose the phrase GEM?
The term Global Ethnic Majority (GEM) is a phrase that was selected in 2020 by Caucus members to replace the use of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME).
The Race Equality Caucus commits to using the racial or ethnic term that is specific to the group in question, or is preferred by an individual. However, when describing our collective racially diverse backgrounds, Global Ethnic Majority was selected as the preferred term. Not only is it positive, it accurately states our position in the world. We acknowledge that GEM as a term may not be perfect and many in these communities have chosen to identify with other terms.
WE value the different experiences that those from GEM backgrounds bring to our Caucus. It is through our differences that we learn and grow. Through mutually sharing and capitalising on these differences we become a force for change in relation to gender and racial equality.
Our definition of racism
We are a group that actively challenges racism in all its forms and use the below definition of racism to help guide our work:
The one way “systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another” based on “a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities, and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”
WE aim to
- Hold the Women’s Equality Party to account to ensure it is anti-racist, intersectional and representative within its organisational structure.
- Unite GEM Party members across the UK, providing a network that focuses on our similar and diverse experiences, in the fight for race and gender equity.
- Encourage more people from GEM Communities to join the Women's Equality Party and the Race Equality Caucus and encourage participation in Party activities
- Be activists against racism and facilitate conversation and discourse on race equity in the UK and worldwide
The Race Equality Caucus has a committee of up to 9 members that work to achieve the above objectives. We are pleased to confirm that our committee members from July 2023 to July 2024 are as follows:
Leader: Olivia Vincenti
Steering Committee Representative: Olivia Vincenti
Committee members: Claudia Crawley & Sellisha Lockyer
Do you share the aims of the Race Equality Caucus?
If so, get involved in one of two ways.
Become a Race Equality Caucus member where you will join a network of GEM women and can also volunteer to join the Race Equality Caucus committee. Membership is open to any Women’s Equality Party member that identifies as GEM.
Frequently Asked Questions - Recognised Groups
Q: How do I get involved?
A: If your group is interested in being recognised as a caucus or advocacy group, please contact [email protected]. If you would like to join a caucus or contact an advocacy group, watch this space! Once groups have been recognised, we will update our website with the relevant information.
Q: How was this policy developed?
A: A motion was passed at conference to enable the representatives of recognised caucuses to become full members of the Steering Committee, and for the Steering Committee to set the criteria for how a group can become recognised as a caucus. The Steering Committee consulted with the Policy Committee and created a sub-committee to develop a fair, simple and workable policy for achieving this.
Q: What is the difference between caucuses and advocacy groups?
A: Caucuses are limited in number and represent different protected characteristics than advocacy groups. They are expected to represent a broader set of issues and identities than advocacy groups, and they are endorsed by the party. For that reason different requirements and benefits have been proposed. For example, a caucus is required to have a minimum of 35 members to gain recognition, while an advocacy group only has to have five, and a recognised caucus is entitled to a seat on the Steering Committee, while advocacy groups are instead given the opportunity to present to the Steering Committee.
Q: Why is there a cap on the number of caucuses that can be recognised?
A: It would not be workable to have a policy allowing limitless seats to be created on the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is already a large body (24 seats) and the practicalities of governance need to be considered.
Q: Why is sex not included as one of the protected characteristics around which a caucus may form?
A: Campaigning for women’s equality is the mission of the party as a whole and of all groups within it. The aim of this policy is to strengthen the party’s work to tackle discrimination at the intersections of women’s identities. On that basis the Steering Committee felt that all caucuses should be required to work at the intersection of discrimination against women and discrimination on grounds of the protected characteristic(s) they represent. A caucus based solely on the protected characteristic of sex would not be an intersectional caucus.
Q: Why is socio-economic status included as a protected characteristic?
A: At our 2020 party conference, a motion was passed calling on the Westminster government to update the Equality Act (2010) to include ‘socio economic status’ as a protected characteristic. The Steering Committee therefore felt that our caucus policy should reflect that.
Q: Why is religion and belief not included as one of the protected characteristics around which a caucus may form?
A: Because it is too broad and complex to allow one caucus to represent all aspects of that characteristic, especially as some beliefs may be in direct opposition (eg theisms vs atheism). And it would not be workable to have a policy allowing limitless seats to be created on the Steering Committee. Instead it is proposed that groups representing a religion or belief may be recognised as advocacy groups.
Q: Didn’t the motion require that all protected characteristics be given a seat?
A: The rationale for the motion suggested that any caucus that gains recognition should represent a protected characteristic, which is what our policy requires.
Q: Why do caucuses need to have 35 members?
A: The Steering Committee has tried to strike a balance between the requirements for elected Steering Committee members (who are typically elected by a minimum of 600 members) and the fact that caucuses exist to champion underrepresented groups. Requiring 35 members is a compromise that requires each caucus to demonstrate that it has recruited sufficient recognition and support within the party.
Q: Can the status of caucuses or advocacy groups be revoked?
A: A breach of criteria could lead to derecognition at the reasonable discretion of the Women’s Equality Party Executive Committee. Any such decision would be subject to review by members at party conference.
Q: Why don’t we endorse advocacy groups?
A: Advocacy Groups mobilise to influence party policy, and party policy is voted on by members at conference. It is also possible that two or more Advocacy Groups will form to represent oppositional beliefs, and the party cannot endorse both.
Welcome to the WEP LGBTQI+ Caucus!
The WEP LGBTQI+ Caucus was created in 2020 when we were delighted that The Women’s Equality Party Conference 2020 approved the motion for Caucuses to be created that represented under-represented groups. We look forward to making our formal application to the Steering Committee once the application process and criteria have been completed.
We are creating a safe space for all WEP members across the LGBTQI+ spectrum to talk, unite in our political activism and view The Women’s Equality Party policies and campaigns through a 100% inclusive and 100% intersectional LGBTQI+ lens. We are dedicated to enabling The Women’s Equality Party to achieve the goal of equality for all.
We pride ourselves on creating an intersectional and inclusive space for our Caucus members as we know how it feels to be excluded and alone. It is especially important for us to lift the lived experiences of our Caucus members to help them achieve the political activism that they seek via education, policy work or by contesting national Elections. The LGBTQI+ Caucus also embraces our allies in the work they do in society to educate and uplift the LGBTQI+ community.
Together, with our allies, we as a Caucus are committed to enabling The Women’s Equality Party to better achieve the Party goals of Equality for All.