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Is there any Pirate women out there in the PPUK?

Any lasses?
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  • Numerous. Wendy Cockcroft and Maria Aretoulaki (Who was our lead candidate for the EU election) immediately spring to mind.
  • Brilliant. Thanks Michael!! I asked the question because I have been thru most of the threads on this community board and had only found men!!! Great tho you all are lol!!!!!
  • Alix has a good point that we don't have as many visibly active women as men. As a Party there isn't any reason why we should only appeal to men and we need to make sure that we aren't inadvertently discouraging women from being active members nor standing for elected roles.

    We've had a female Party Secretary and the only Deputy we've had was also a woman - but I think we've elected 27 men to the Board and about (I lose track) 15 men to the NEC. This is a pretty terrible ratio.

    I think we might have only had 3 women stand for the Party in external elections vs about 22 men that have - ratio is better there but still awful.
  • I'm thinking about stepping forward for campaigns officer but since I've never actually held such a role and don't know what it entails, I'm a bit hesitant. Plus I've only been a member for a short while. If I had some support I would totally do it, though.
  • I guess it depends what sort of Campaigns Officer you might want to be. When Andy did the job he basically did everything that needed doing until his brain exploded. I'd suggest you don't try to be that sort!!

    I think roles change to fit the people that do them... but in my mind the Campaigns Officer is someone who takes some or all responsibility for the following:
    • devising a variety of national campaigns, whether they be electoral, fund-raising (working w/ Treasury), publicity, etc.
    • is an interface to people outside the Party that have questions (perhaps it is just a quirk that the campaigns@ list ends up receiving a million questions from the outside world and these responsibilities should be handed to secretariat or leadership)
    • organises the production of a wide range of publicity material, images for social media, fliers/posters/etc., election material
    • managing the content on the website (another legacy role and possibly belongs elsewhere)
    • line manages the head of the social media team (or can directly lead this team
    • getting local branches created around the country, getting University PP societies formed, and other types of growth including expanding pool of candidates (shared with leadership and nominations)
  • edited June 2015
    Hi Wendy! Big wave! Could I also ask on from the great job spec that azrael has posted. What are your skills? I checked out your twitter account and followed you after Michael mentioned you above! from what I see you are well up to the job!!
  • Hi Wendy, Following on from Azrael's and Drowz0r's points - one of the things that I think could or should be done is splitting the Campaign Officer's role up a bit as what traditionally was done by Andy was too much for one person, and actually unhelpful in allowing others to volunteer and contribute.

    I would actually suggest that you work the other way around and say "If I was to do the role, I see it as being this, and I would do these things..., and would be asking others to help because I wouldn't be doing this, this or that." - That way you don't get people assuming something about the role and can make it what you want and think that it should be. (And then if someone disagrees about what they think the role should be, they can put themselves forward with a different view and let the membership vote on it :-) )
  • Thanks, Alix.

    Okay, let's look at the bullet points again:

    devising a variety of national campaigns, whether they be electoral, fund-raising (working w/ Treasury), publicity, etc., is an interface to people outside the Party that have questions (perhaps it is just a quirk that the campaigns@ list ends up receiving a million questions from the outside world and these responsibilities should be handed to secretariat or leadership)

    • organises the production of a wide range of publicity material, images for social media, fliers/posters/etc., election material
    • managing the content on the website (another legacy role and possibly belongs elsewhere)
    • line manages the head of the social media team (or can directly lead this team
    • getting local branches created around the country, getting University PP societies formed, and other types of growth • including expanding pool of candidates (shared with leadership and nominations)

    This is a lot to do. If I did go ahead and put my hat in the ring I'd need to have the time to commit to it, and I don't because I work. The only way around it is to gather around me a group of committed volunteers to whom I could delegate each of the above tasks, then oversee them to completion myself. E.g. gather together some graphic designers, etc., agree material, and get it published and distributed. So effectively I'd be the manager, and I'd need staff to get the work done. If we can achieve that, it'd be worth my while applying for the job. If not, I'd be worse than useless, I'd be in the way.

    I will need a lot of support and advice.

    What do you think?
  • all NEC roles should be about owning the work and line managing the people that do it... we need much more effort from the Party to integrate willing volunteers into areas that have work for them to do

    I'd very happily vote for someone who wanted to focus their efforts to that
  • Hi! I've recently become a fairly active member of the party, helping out with the 2015 campaign and am currently preparing my nomination for a role on the NEC. I'm pretty passionate about diversity too and would love a membership base and NEC etc that becomes more representative of the diversity of the population. (And I'm a woman)
  • Well Chesha!! V V V sorry to put it bluntly, but certainly this vanilla discussion board is a geeky boys club!! And if the PPUK is similar we have a bit of a way to go before the PPUK is representative!! (And sorry I'm saying "we" - because I'm here, paid up, believe in the core principles, have an opinion! and want to be involved!)

    I have been watching this site for months and couldn't no matter how I tried find "anything in it for a person like me" Except that I completely agree with the core policies of Pirates. And oh, I so agree!! I've felt for years that I was on pretty much my own saying we needed actually fully fledged system change. A new constitutional operating system!!

    I know of 2 or 3 hundred women and men who share the same vales as the Pirate Party, but would say....... NO way...... this Party is just another boys club!!

    It was only knowing Birgitta from Iceland that convinced me to get involved. Ive been her FB "friend" for several years and started a group on FB called "End the Recession - follow Iceland's lead" because I could see that somehow, Iceland was starting to "get it right". I had the opportunity to visit Iceland for a couple of weeks and actually met her last Sunday!! The Pirate Party was everything I wanted and believed in. I was inspired by her to believe that Pirates can MAKE THE DIFFERENCE and here I am. !!! Sorry!!!

    And sorry mate and to all you other guys. I don't mean to come in and be insulting, because having watched the UK Pirates (or the UK site and lerked on this Board) I am very well aware how dedicated you are to looking at the core values and progressing the Pirate Party but there is little here for the majority of people, whereas ACTUALLY what Pirates represent is essential to everyone in this country - well at least the 99%!!

    Reach out to other people...... and together we can make a difference!!!
  • Yep. What Alix says. To become inclusive we need to welcome people whose views, etc., differ from ours.

    That said I'm all about the internet and am a major geek...!
  • Don't be sorry Alix! One of our problems is that it is the same few people that are active. That makes it hard to see outside of our bubble which eventually makes it harder and harder for those outside the bubble to see any value in trying to get into the bubble. Do not try and get into our bubble. Burst it! The very thing we NEED is more and more members making this community, this Party their own rather than what a handful of active people think it is.

    Problem with a swarm is that when you're in the middle you can't see the outside. We need the edges of the swarm to grow which means we need to engage those edges. (shameless rip off)
  • Thanks, Azrael. :)
  • I'm glad this has been brought up. There have been a number of women active in the party, but the balance has always been skewed towards men, and I'm not sure it's ever been as much of a sausage fest as it is at the moment. (Recent NEC: 5 men. Current Board: 10 men. Recent slate of candidates: 6 men.) Obviously there's no need for it to be that way, given that the Pirate principles are important for everyone: there's nothing gendered about our core values or appeal. But it's not encouraging for potential female members if all they see is men everywhere, and it's also bad for our brand (the German pirates were loudly called out on this in a 2011 election).

    There are obvious reasons it might be like that, of course: many people from the IT industry join us, and that industry is itself heavily skewed. But let's stop making excuses and figure out what we can do about it. So, everyone (especially non-male members): what can we do to make ourselves more representative, gender-wise?
  • I agree quotas are crap!

    Geeks join because they can "see something in it for them"

    What's in it for the 63% who didn't vote for the Tories?

    What's in it for disadvantaged or disillusioned voter?

    There are a huge amount of dissatisfied people in this country at the moment. What's in it for them?

    If we could define this, then more people would join.
  • What did Iceland do? They have gone from no MPs to 3 MPs and now are polling at 67% of the electorate.

    What can we learn from them?
  • Hi @rebeccawho And good luck!!! :)
  • @chesha
    In my case when I wrote the statement - "Any lasses?" yes it would have been great if I would have been directed to a womens group.

    However, Im a little wary of having separate groups for specific grouping for 2 reasons 1) they often get side lined and 2) it feels a bit patronising really!!

    If we were to have a womens group, then I think we should have a dis-abled group, a youth group (I know someone is on the case for this one) a mens groups and a LGBT group!!!!! With such a small membership, currently, this might be OTT tho

    What I think we should concentrate on more is: What policies, beliefs and values would attract more women, more youth, more disabled, more older voters etc?

    Unfortunately, I don't think majoring on copyright, digital rights etc will attract large numbers of anyone!

    However, constitutional change, bring the banks and bankers to account, having a living wage, a basic national income, HMRC prosecuting large tax dodgers, reform of parliament, bringing the NHS and other national industries back into public hands........ these things will attract the masses!

    What is it that the Pirates stand for that people can really get behind?
  • I like the idea of areas for different sub-groups, but they don't have to be exclusive and restricted. The idea of only women talking about how to improve things for women (either nationally via policies or internally in the Party) seems contrary to its own goals, ditto for any other sub-group. However we can have areas which are reserved for conversations about those issues - that allow anyone to contribute and better yet benefit from seeing those discussions taking place. Could be done just by creating specific categories in this forum software?
  • There is a good article on feminism in the Guardian

    Not about how to include women but certainly what some of the perception issues are!
  • Oh I'll look!!! :)
  • Not sure what I think. Some of the stuff she says is great, like for instance men are no better or worse than women, women are no better than men. I completely agree.

    However, what I didn't see from her is the issue of culture. Women have and still are treated as second class citizens - culturally and individually!!

    To illustrate this: I had reason to meet about 20 people who have changed their gender from male to female and everyone of them commented that they had no idea how "badly" women are regarded and treated until they became a female. It was a shock to them all!!
  • edited June 2015
    I feel I should speak up at this point, having been one of the female PPUK Candidates.
    First of all, many many thanks Alix for the thread - good call!
    Secondly, I don't see myself as a woman or female, just as a fellow Human / fellow Pirate. This may be partly just the way I am / see myself but it's definitely also due to the fact that I was never treated like a rarity in the party in the 3 years that I've been involved. I have had my Greekness exploited for promotional reasons :) but that's about it. Also the fact that I run my own company that happens to be an IT Consultancy. I was a candidate in the Manchester local elections in 2012 and the lead (it was a close vote!) candidate in the EU Elections last year. I have been quite active throughout but I am not putting myself forward as a candidate for any of the positions now because I am about to have (drop!) a baby, so I didn't want to just get a new title and do nothing for the next 12 months.

    I disagree myself with the concept of quotas per se, as it could / can and does often turn into just an exercise in PR that doesn't really improve anything other than appearances. But I definitely agree that if there are women out there who think that the Pirate movement is a young male geek movement, we should definitely try to correct that misconception!

    I have visited Birgitta in Iceland myself (last year) and she is an awesome inspiration (and once again she is not a "female Pirate", she is just a "kick-ass Pirate") but my first inspiration was actually Loz, his passion about the party's principles and protecting the ever vanishing freedoms we have once enjoyed. I personally did not need a female role model to get involved. I'm sure some women do, so we should have plenty of female role models to offer.

    I admit I don't like the idea of having a "Women in PPUK" group, as it would automatically marginalise said women and it kind of smacks of a "wives club" (entertaining themselves while the boys do the big important stuff). I mean women represent 52% of the population, they are not a minority and it would be self-defeating to treat them that way. (In contrast, a "Greek Pirates in the UK" or a "German Pirates in the UK" group would make much more sense, if there was interest of course). Showing off specific active female pirates (like Birgitta in Iceland, Julia in Brussels, perhaps Wendy and Rebecca next in the UK :) ) is more productive and encouraging in my opinion.

    So I personally welcome this thread, but I'm all for telling EVERYONE (both men and women) about the Pirate Party principles and show how they affect and relate to ALL areas of society, economy, and culture (and not just the internet, geeks or hackers). This should resonate with most people and will do away with the need to "prove that the party is relevant to women" or that it's not "only relevant to geeks / boys".
  • 'I admit I don't like the idea of having a "Women in PPUK" group, as it would automatically marginalise said women and it kind of smacks of a "wives club" (entertaining themselves while the boys do the big important stuff). I mean women represent 52% of the population, they are not a minority and it would be self-defeating to treat them that way.'

    I've never thought of it in that way. I can imagine how I'd feel if someone were to suggest having a 'Men in PPUK' Group. It is marginalising and victimising.
  • Except where they are marginalised and victimised - then having specific efforts to combat that is a good thing.

    Not saying we do marginalise nor victimise - yet we do not reflect the 52% demographic and really ought to better balance our ratio.
  • If done in the right way, it could be absolutely the opposite of marginalizing. Women are already marginal in PPUK; looking at this board, and at the candidates we've stood, it's hard to see it in any other way. That's not a slight on Maria, Bex, Leanne, Sephy, or any of the other great Pirates we've had on board who've happened to self-define as female. It's just what the numbers say.

    Still, I don't think this is a problem with the structure of the party, and I don't think it needs a solution that involves changing the structure of the party. No one here seems to be in favour of quotas (I'm certainly not), and an official Women of PPUK group has rather a pink van flavour to it. If such a group arises it should be through informal self-organization. I'm certainly not about to use my mighty Interim Leader powers to magic such a group into existence. That would be the worst of all possible worlds.
    Showing off specific active female pirates (like Birgitta in Iceland, Julia in Brussels, perhaps Wendy and Rebecca next in the UK) is more productive and encouraging in my opinion.
    I completely agree. In fact, generally I think that this party needs to make more of its international connections; it's one thing that really sets us apart from other small parties in the UK, and in a good way. But that probably warrants a thread of its own. What's interesting is that some of the best-known Pirates internationally are female, and by showcasing those people and their work we can go part of the way towards a solution.
  • For a brief period this year every major party in Scotland was lead by a woman, Scottish Conservatives by a gay woman no less. All these parties have Women's Groups which help steer the parties and help work towards greater equality with in party. Now right now PPUK is probably too small to bear such an organisation but they are a good idea and do generate results.
  • Cris, of course any decision about party structure needs to be evidence-based - but this is an informal discussion on a web forum. I wouldn't say it's "pointless" to test the water and discover what views are out there among (forum-)active members. If anything, it helps us to get to grips with what needs to be argued for and what we can take as a given when we get to the formal stage of making concrete proposals about diversity.
  • Showing off specific active female pirates (like Birgitta in Iceland, Julia in Brussels, perhaps Wendy and Rebecca next in the UK) is more productive and encouraging in my opinion.
    Wow, thanks! I'd add Alix to the list, she's very keen and we do need that energy. She's also experienced in local politics and in holding office in a local community.

    As Maria said, most of us women tend to see ourselves as people first and foremost. Gender doesn't tend to occur to me much and I'm pleased to say I've always been welcomed and treated as an equal in Pirate discussions, even with those who disagree with me. But then, I believe that dissension is essential to a healthy discourse.

    I'm with George and Cris on evidence-based policy but am also of a mind that actually talking to people is a good, good thing! The reason is, what works for some parties might not work for us. I worry that pandering might pull us off-course, so I think we need to make the case to women who use tech/social media, etc., that the Pirates represent them and their interests more effectively than other parties do. Personally, I'd start there and work outwards.

    Now I know it's not a popular point of view but I'm not going to shut up about this: we do need to promote alternative business models to wean artists and creators off of copyright as an income source. Many of these people are women with families. One actually showed up at Amelia Andersdotter's office with her brood and pretty much said, "How could you be so cruel as to promote copyright reform — to starve my poor kids and drive us out of our home?!" That her income comes from a government-funded job (she works for a state-funded TV channel) hadn't occurred to her, and Amelia was pretty upset by the encounter.

    The pro-IPR brigade currently owns the narrative. We're using their words and phrases to frame the discussion and they circulate scare stories around people who fear losing their jobs and homes. Many of these people are women in the creative industries. I believe that since each of these women can reach a potentially wide audience, we need to work on winning them over by appealing to what matters the most to them. If we can demonstrate that we're not selfish radicals but that we're all about empowering them and setting them free from the tyranny of a system that rips them off and tells them to be grateful for it, we will win them over.

    As I've said before in arguments online, if we ask others to go digging through source material for the evidence, they're unlikely to come to the same conclusions that we did because they don't have the same points of view that we do and they're not coming from the same place. If we win enough influential women over, we'll get more of them soon enough. I've befriended a journalist who used to work for the Daily Mirror and am working on getting her on side. Can you imagine the value of getting someone with that amount of reach on board with us?

    What do you think?
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