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Centenary Action Group Parliamentary Event

Last week I attended the ‘How can we reach equal representation of women in Parliament by 2028?’ event hosted by Centenary Action Group (CAG).

CAG is a coalition bringing together organisations from across the women’s sector to enable collaboration, joint action and campaigning to eradicate the barriers that prevent women, in all their diversity, from taking part in politics and to improve women’s political participation in the UK.

This event enabled a cross-party discussion about the way forward and the sharing of ideas and experiences to ensure the next election does not see a slippage of female candidates. I spoke about Labour Women Network’s Selections For This Millennium campaign, the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Scheme and the Labour Women Network’s Political School. Labour has upskilled and encouraged almost 400 women in the last 12 months.

It was lovely meeting women from across different sectors who are looking to stand for election in the coming years.

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Media Interview with Hend Kheiralla

I sat down with Hend Kheiralla, host of the Ladies of the Lakes radio show, to discuss my journey into politics, getting started as a new MP after my election in 2019, my experience representing Erith and Thamesmead so far, and advice for those interested in politics. I also spoke about the importance of allyship, networks and mentorship.

Abena said:

I think female representation is important in Parliament as well as diversity… because I think it is important to have people from all walks of life.

Ladies of the Lakes is a series of interviews exploring stories of women who grew up and lived in Thamesmead.

You can listen to the full interview here.

HEND INTERVIEW

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Celebrating local women in Parliament for International Women’s Day

On 8 March we marked International Women’s Day 2021. I used the parliamentary debate on IWD, held on 11 March, to celebrate local women making a difference in our community.

They included Dr Sam Parrett OBE, principal of London and South East Education Group, who has done so much to ensure that young people were supported throughout the pandemic; Sue Stockham, an ovarian cancer survivor, who is using her experience to raise awareness about the signs of ovarian cancer and the importance of getting help quickly during the pandemic; Carmel Britto who is the founding director of LPF Kiddies Club, which offers educational enrichment to young children from African and Caribbean backgrounds; Kate Heaps who is the chief executive of Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice; and Yeukai Taruvinga who is the founder and director of Active Horizons, a charity that works to support Black and ethnic minority young people in Bexley.

I also paid tribute to the countless women who have served on the frontline in our constituency during the pandemic as doctors, nurses, carers, cleaners, and other key workers. I could not name them all, but we must not forget the sacrifices they have made and the burden that has fallen on them.

You can watch my full speech below: