A 16:9 ratio graphic, with the Equalities Conference logo, date and pictures of speakers.

Our Equalities Conference, Building Equality for All, is finally taking place this Saturday, 1st October – having been postponed following the death of Her Majesty the late Queen. I want to thank all of our Equalities Networks for their hard work on the conference, and to thank our speakers – many of whom have had to step in at the last minute when others were unable to make the rearranged date.

Our brilliant member-led networks – representing our BAME, LGBTQ+, (dis)Abled, Women and Youth co-operators – selected three excellent topics for our interdisciplinary debates. These will be on hate crime and building safer communities, the cost-of-living crisis and how it impacts on minorities, and on removing barriers to minorities who want to stand to be public representatives. I am looking forward to listening to these debates and discussing what we as the Co-operative Party can do to support our members.

We will also get to hear updates from each of our networks on all the brilliant work they have done throughout the past year. I’m particularly looking forward to engaging discussions with all who wish to join us as we discuss priorities and plans going into the next year.

This inaugural conference comes at a time when we in the Party are making great strides on equalities, with changes to our NEC to make it more equal. We will have BAME, LGBTQ+ and (dis)Ability representation on our NEC alongside the existing Youth rep. The NEC will also be gender balanced. These changes ensure the all-important visible representation of minorities on our governing structure, as well as offering their voice and perspectives to help guide everything the Co-operative Party does.

If you want to get involved in our equalities work, all five of our networks are holding elections to their steering committees this autumn, and we would love for you to get involved. Please take a moment to ensure you have updated your membership details at www.party.coop/equalities. That is all you need to do to be a part of the network, receive their updates and get involved. Our equalities networks drive our equality, diversity and inclusion agendas within the party, and we welcome fresh ideas and enthusiastic co-operators!