The Co-operative Party Women’s Network was established for women in the Party to co-operate to help each other, offering their time and talents, experience and expertise.  To celebrate International Women’s Day, some of our current women in politics offer some words of advice and inspiration to our aspiring politicians.

The best piece of advice anyone ever gave to me in advance of my parliamentary selection was to acknowledge that getting selected is harder than getting elected and therefore you have to put in 150% effort. I worked harder during my selection than I’d ever done before and it paid off.

Luciana Berger MP

Politics have been part of my life from my teenage years and I am glad to say that these many years on I still enjoy working with people in my own and the wider community.  I have been a Union representative, a Community and County Councillor and Assembly Member – and throughout I have been aware of what a privilege it has been to contribute to the politics of Wales. What I  would say  to women who want to enter the political arena at whatever level is – go ahead – you can do it – and not only will you be able to help  play a part in forming the society in which we live – you will get terrific fulfilment from doing so.

Sandy Mewies AM

I am enormously encouraged by the number of young (er) women who are involved in the Cooperative Movement these days. We need you to put yourself forward for public office, and for senior positions in the Co-op. The Co-operative has always had great women at its heart, but that is not always translated into fair representation. It will be if we look out for each other, think of each other and support each other.

Best advice I ever gave was to Alice Mahon – who invited me to meet her and other comrades in Halifax to discuss whether I was interested in being their parliamentary candidate. And there was Alice, this clever, working class woman, health worker and trade unionist. After about 30 minutes I said “why don’t you do it yourself?” and spent 30 minutes convincing her it was a good idea and she could. The rest is history.

She may from time to time have been a thorn in the side of New Labour but she was a great and well beloved MP. Good Day’s Work.

Some of best advice I ever received was the late revered Veronica Crichton, veteran Labour Party media manager, with whom I shared a bright red lipstick for the whole of the 1987 General Election (real sisterhood). She said you must be able to put your deepest and most passionate belief into two or three easily understood sentences, and what makes you a human being is you must also realise how ridiculous politics and politicians are to most people. Never take yourself too seriously.

Baroness Glenys Thornton

Women in politics make a huge difference ensuring action on issues such as domestic violence and child care that previously got little attention. Selections at national level are hard while being a local politician often means juggling work and family too. Build a team to help and support you. Nobody does it on their own and friends and family will usually be delighted to help – use their skills and talent. Then in your turn help others.

Meg Munn Labour & Co-operative MP Sheffield Heeley
Minister for Women & Equality 2005 – 2007

I was proud to be one of 24 women returned in the inaugural elections to the National Assembly for Wales, back in 1999. Nearly thirteen years on, I believe it’s more important than ever for women to get involved in politics and make their voice heard.

We live in incredibly tough economic times, and as study after study has demonstrated, it’s women who are being hit hardest by this Tory-led government in Westminster. We need more women in politics to stand up against these kind of attacks.

Lynne Neagle AM

To join the Network, or to find out more, email