The University’s Labour Club is set to split members into two electoral colleges based on their self-identified gender for voting purposes.
The agenda resolved to ensure that “the number of voters in the larger electoral college is divided by the number of voters in the smaller one, and this number is multiplied by every vote cast by a member of the smaller electoral college so that each vote is more heavily weighted.”
“The position of Women’s Officer will continue to be elected by self-identifying women, and the Liberation groups will continue to elect from their respective caucuses,” it added.
The motion, proposed by Women’s Officer Rebecca Grant and seconded by ex-co-chair Helena Dollimore and current co-chair Orla Oakey, claimed that “levels of participation and representation of women in OULC continues, despite the efforts of many Women’s Officers and Women’s Caucuses…remain worryingly low”.
It also pointed out that only one woman was in the running for the club’s executive committee elections at Hilary’s Termly General Meeting, and that no candidates ran for Women’s Officer. The average level of women’s representation on the committee is below 20%.
It said “that serious constitutional action is necessary to put into practice OULC’s core principle of de facto equality” and “that it is the responsibility of all OULC members actively to encourage the participation of women”.
Rebecca Grant, the Women’s Officer at OULC, said the change matched “standard practice” in the national party.
“I drafted this motion after it was discussed in a Women’s Working Group meeting. After nearly a decade of efforts by the Women’s Caucus and successive Women’s Officers, women’s representation in OULC – particularly at executive level – is shockingly low.”
“This measure ties the personal success of all members to an improvement in women’s representation and participation, which is needed urgently. It is in line with standard practice in the national Party – votes on the National Executive Committee, Annual Conference and National Policy Forum are all weighted by gender.”
“Obviously I can only speak for the Women’s Caucus, and proposed the motion on their behalf. If other Liberation caucuses (we have BME, LGBTQ and Students with Disabilities groups) propose similar measures, they will be considered in the same way,” she added.