Anglican Mainstream featured in Commemorative Volume of Vote 100

Jul 5, 2018 by

from Church of England Newspaper:

At the launch on June 27 in the sunny cloisters of Westminster Abbey of Voice and Vote to mark 100 years of the franchise for propertied women over 30, retiring Director of the History of Parliament and editor of the impressive commemorative volume, Dr Paul Seaward, recalled that everyone had seen Votes for Women coming for fifty years: women’s role in the abolition of slavery had politicised many who joined with women in working class jobs. But the extension of the franchise to women was delayed by issues such as the Irish Question and Welfare legislation, as well as by the question of which party would reap the benefit of passing it.

Welcoming scores of representatives of organisations highlighted in what is as much a coffee table as a coffee table book, Hanneka Smit, Chief Executive Officer of Newton Investment Management,  a subsidiary of BNY Mellon who co-sponsored the project ( and also sponsor the Boat Race), argued that gender equality and diversity are key to success across business and communities.  Despite similar levels of men and women leaving university, female participation at executive level in UK businesses is 25%. Despite being 50% of the global working-age population, women only generate 37% of global GDP, suggesting that they are under-utilised. Increasing and supporting women in the workplace brings many benefits. Closing the gender gap could unlock $330 billion in annual global revenue. Gender diversity correlates positively with (i) profitability and (ii) innovation. This calls for flexible working practices, parental leave policies, improving female leadership pipeline, and attracting women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Cognitive diversity in decision-making processes can bring better outcomes and empower people. She commended: think ‘outside the box’ in terms of recruitment; and hire people with potential, around whom roles can be shaped.

This was not identity politics as she noted men’s contribution towards reaching gender parity goals. “It is about inclusion and not about creating the next club. In most cases, men still hold the keys to power and need to be part of the conversation. I have been encouraged by numerous men, both as allies and as inclusive leaders.” Finally she highlighted the role of education in securing diversity in the workplace and equal rights in society. ”Encouraging and supporting education is the only gift parents can truly give.”

Jill Manns, the webmaster of Anglican Mainstream and Sarah Finch, an AM trustee and member of General Synod, attended since Anglican Mainstream is one of the 32 organisations featured with a full page spread in Voice and Vote in Chapter 8 ‘Society’. Along with the Home Office, the Kent Police and others Anglican Mainstream was invited to participate by the History of Parliament.

With the strapline “Anglican Mainstream lobbies not just for Christian values but, above all, for reasoned debate and mutual respect”, the entry describes it as part of an international collaboration to reassert and support traditional Christian understandings of marriage, the family and sexuality. Not everyone perceives traditional Christian organisations as diverse and inclusive. “There is a sense that the liberal elite believes it has the franchise on equality and diversity,” chairman Canon Dr Chris Sugden says, “and that everyone else is a bigot or a dinosaur. There is a very important point to be made here: equality and diversity include, rather than exclude, those who don’t agree…Properly understood, mainstream Anglican Christian thinking has historically always levered participation, debate and engagement,” says Dr Sugden, “for the benefit of the whole community. The key issue for us now is truth in public debate.”

The free Vote 100 Exhibition in Westminster Hall runs till October 6 with timed ticketed entry. It tells the story of women in Parliament, the campaigning, the protests and the achievements. Rare and previously unseen historic objects, pictures and archives from the Parliamentary collections and elsewhere will be on show, with immersive and interactive technologies.

See Vote 100 website here


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