I was working at a senior leadership level in the charity sector and recongised the desperate need to have female regional leaders. Our area has been fairing badly for women. Women in Tees Valley earn significantly less than men, with women earning 22% less; we have some of the highest child poverty rates in the country; our economy is declining; mental health rates are rising and people are getting poorer.
Women were disproportiantely impacted in the Tees Valley during the covid crisis
Issues with child care, female dominated sectors were the first to close and the last to open, like hair and beauty businesses, which employs twice that of car manufacturing. Care, retail and NHS workers were at the front line in the crisis, are predominantly women and yet are still fighting for a pay rise when the risks have been significantly increased and working conditions harder.
This is why it is of vital importance we get female Metro Mayors. We have seen through the Covid crisis how important Andy Burnham’s and other regional mayoral voices have been yet we have also seen how male those voices have been.
A Labour vision for The Tees Valley is women succeeding, children lifted out of poverty, people earning good wages, having great jobs, people having great homes and good places to live.
And my vision for the Tees Valley is this, that we are a place people love to live, work, invest and play
As potentially the UK’s first female metro mayor, I am going to ensure we really put women’s empowerment on my agenda and make the Tees Valley one of the family friendliest places in the UK
Now as a progressive female mayor, there are four direct things I will do to improve the lives of women in our region.
– Champion family friendly workplaces and running a business challenge around this within a good work agenda
– Great places to visit, in tourism, culture and sports; ensuring a better offer for families
– Get more women into STEM: I am launching a build it in the Tees Valley campaign – but many of these jobs and jobs of the future are in STEM. We currently have less than 10% of women working in STEM, half the national average so we need to do something. I am going to set up a female STEM programme to help women transition and get the skills and supporting women into these new jobs of the future around climate, technology and science industries,
– Get more women into business: Launching a women’s entrepreneur’s fund and mentoring scheme – we have many brilliant women with ideas for business but they need support to get off the ground, my scheme will do this, offering easy access start up funds and support