International Women’s Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate the achievements of women in our city, but also a time to reflect and refocus on how we can individually and collectively continue to strive for gender parity and equality.

I am proud to serve in a city where over half of the controlling Labour group at the City Council are women. Where women are equally represented on Cabinet and with a council that has females in many leadership roles.

However, when you are in the privileged position of having a voice, then you also have a responsibility to use it to champion and empower others, and to make sure that women in Liverpool, who may have a different lived experience, have equal opportunity to play a part in shaping the future development of their communities and neighbourhoods.

Our Inclusive Growth Plan sets out our vision to make Liverpool one of the best cities in the world. To be able to achieve this we need to transform the way that we deliver our services, we need to stop focusing on what’s wrong and build on what’s strong. I have been working on the development of City Conversation which will enable us, as a council, to change our relationship with our residents and staff and make sure that alongside our elected members we are working together to support strong and resilient communities.

We all know that cuts from government have had a massive impact on council funding and therefore our residents. We also know that often it is women who are impacted disproportionately by welfare reforms and poverty. I work every day with women that are struggling to feed their families, need support to access sanitary products, are victims of domestic abuse, want help to upskill so that they can achieve their dreams. Women who, despite the challenges, have hope and aspirations, women who want more than to survive – they want to thrive.

I am delighted that on Thursday, we are holding a city conversation workshop with women from across the city. This is chance for them to come together, build networks, but most importantly share how they feel about their neighbourhood and have the opportunity to influence change.

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