Women members and supporters of the Communist Party will gather in London this weekend. You can view the CP workplan and building strategy aimed at recruiting more women to the party and campainging activity here.





Status and Notes




1.  Organisation



Women’s organisation in the Party is patchy and unsystematically addressed.  This is to the detriment of women comrades, the Party as a whole and the broader labour and progressive movements. 

  • Hold regular meetings, 2x a year in March and October, of the national women’s advisory/commission to consider women’s issues and organisation, monitor barriers and progress, advise the Party and support women at every level and in all Party organisations (LP)
  • Develop communications re women’s organisation.  Develop Women’s Newsletter (electronic) (LP, PK + BS?).
  • Party as a whole to ‘own’ all actions in this plan (NEC and PC).
  • Include relevant sections of this plan in Party Organisers’ Handbook




6 August 2011

16 June 2012


Next Meeting:

6 October 2012







Lots of work to do!

Tick-box approach should be avoided.

Not all districts and nations have a women’s organiser/officer

  • Require that each district and nation has a named women’s organiser/officer(NEC). 

Have women’s organisers for London, SW & Cornwall, NW, Scotland and Midlands + contact for Northern


URGENT - Eastern, Herts and Beds, Brighton and Sussex, Kent, Wales and Yorkshire have yet to name their organiser.

Lack of clarity about role of district and nation women’s organisers

  • National women’s organiser to liaise with nation and district women’s organisers (LP)
  • Produce guidelines for women’s organiser role (LP) for inclusion in Party Organiser’s Handbook
  • Induction for women’s organisers new to role (LP)




Will be included in final text



To be implemented

Many branches have no women’s organiser/organisation or concept of what this might entail

  • Encourage all branches to have a women’s organiser (NEC)
  • District and nation WOs to liaise with branches on the recruitment and retention of women + women’s campaigns, issues and work (WOs)






Women are under-represented in key party positions, on committees, on platforms, etc

  • All organisations at every level to examine the barriers, including structural, to women’s participation and do everything possible to encourage women to stand for positions (All)
  • Provide opportunities to shadow, inductionand training
  • Continue to support and encourage women in positions (All)
  • Ensure that the time, duration and venues of meetings do not form barriers to women’s participation (Chairs, secretaries and organisers)
  • Designated comrades to act as mentors, ‘buddies’, etc, as appropriate
  • Train Party chairs and facilitators how to involve women


Little progress?


Needs an EC initiative?

Now is a good time in the run up to Congress

Low or absent profile in Party business of:


1. Women’s issues and campaigns

2. Women’s work in/for the Party and

3. Consideration of barriers to recruitment and retention.

  • Organisations to consider and act on advice of Women’s Advisory
  • The agenda of each meeting of each Party organisation at every level to include something for/about women (Chairs and secretaries)
  • Disseminate good practice, e.g. work in Scotland (Women’s organisers)


  • Use publications and website to raise profile (All)




Need to remind the Party of this section




Some dissemination via Advisory but needs a more systematic approach







2. Recruitment and Participation



Women make up only 23% of membership of the Party.  Only 17% of new recruits (since 1 January 2011) are women.  The number of women in two districts is in single figures.  Some branches have no women members.

  • Continue to monitor, disseminate and analyse information from Party database and other sources (LP) 
  • Ensure that all expressions of interest and applications from women are followed up.  Monitor conversion from interest to recruitment to retention (Secretaries).  Meet new members before they attend their first meeting.
  • Set and monitor (realistic) women’s recruitment targets (Branches)
  • Each nation, district and branch to discuss how to recruit and keep women and undertake actions to do so (All)
  • Ensure that the Party works to involve, engage and inspire women (All)
  • Disseminate good practice (WOs)


New analysis and report from database at end of 2012


Anecdotal evidence suggests huge variations in practice across branches






No evidence on implementation







Need to consider further HOW to do this




The profile of women in the Party is ageing.  Only 20% are under 40. The Party is not recruiting younger women.

  • All of the above with particular reference to younger women
  • Work with the YCL on this issue

As above


Not implemented


There are no or few women comrades at some Party meetings and events. 

All meeting and event organisers should:

  • Design events, meetings, agendas, speakers, programmes, etc that ENGAGE women
  • Involve women in the organisation of meetings and events
  • Ensure that communications about events reach women (physically and psychologically)
  • Check that there are no unnecessary barriers to women’s attendance
  • Consider childcare arrangements

Whole section - ongoing

The Party is not clear about what it expects of women and they, in turn, are   not sure where to focus their attention.

  • Find out about what women bring in to the Party and what they are involved in.  Encourage them to continue to attend.  Use this to build their work and the Party’s work.
  • Encourage women, as a minimum, to attend and participate in Party branch meetings and buy and read the Morning Star.
  • Encourage women to attend and contribute to their trade union branch meetings (if applicable) and be active in for example peace groups, tenants’ groups and elsewhere in the wider movement, as far as is possible in the circumstances and without overstretching.

Whole section - Ongoing

3. Understanding of women and class



Understanding of women and class needs to be explored, developed and applied by the Party as a whole

and at every level.

















  • Include in-depth consideration of women and class in Party education programmes, communist universities, etc (EC/All)
  • Encourage all comrades to study Women and Class (M. Davis)and organise speakers and speaking tours on this.
  • Party to publish bibliography to support study of women and class
  • Publish articles on women and class in Communist Review
  • Explore issues of women and class (i.e. theory in application) in relation to Party work, campaigns and activities in the broader labour movement






Not implemented




Not implemented




LP to discuss with ML




4. Portrayal of women in publications that the Party can influence (printed and electronic)



The Morning Star currently has a male-orientated appeal

  • Continue to work with the MS on its portrayal and lack of portrayal of women through its use of images
  • Encourage the MS to ensure that there is (positive) frequent coverage of women in news, features, sport, letters, obituaries, etc and that serious attention is given to high profile women’s events, e.g. Women’s TUC, Charter for Women Conference
  • Encourage women to contribute to the MS through letters, articles, etc.  This should not only be on women’s issues and equality but on every aspect of the labour movement and class struggle.

Ongoing- Lots of work to do.



Ongoing- Need to ensure that coverage continues in gap created by equality editor moving on.






Some progress


Cases of features sent in by women and neither printed nor acknowledged.

Need to ensure this doesn’t happen. 

The Party website and district sites need to develop their profile of women

  • Review the ‘look and feel’ of the websites, including images, as well as content
  • Ensure that the site reflects women’s current Party work, issues and campaigns
  • Develop and update the women’s section of the national site
  • Review and add to links to other relevant websites and delete dead-end links

Some progress

Ongoing – Lots to do

Issues of Unity could give a better profile to women in their trade unions

  • Continue to produce Unity for the Women’s TUC
  • Ensure there is a women’s interest/focus in each issue of Unity
  • Continue to encourage women comrades to write for Unity





Communist Reviewneeds to give a higher profile to women authors (and not only on women’s issues) and positive images of women. 

  • Encourage women to write for Communist Review
  • Encourage women comrades to read CR
  • Ask the CR editorial board to liaise with the women’s advisory on potential articles, topics and contributors
  • Ask the editorial board to consider the imagery of women on an issue by issue basis at a point at which amendments can be made

Some progress on this section.  Several pieces by women published but lots more to do. LP/ML to discuss.

5. Areas of work



National Assembly of Women

Communist women were prominent in setting up the NAW and have been active in it ever since. Comrades  Anita Wright and Eleanor Lewington are currently on its executive.  There is huge scope for enhancement of Party support for the NAW.

  • Encourage all Party organisations to support the NAW and branches to affiliate
  • Encourage all Party members to look regularly at the NAW magazine Sisters and website www.sisters.org
  • Encourage women comrades to join the NAW as individual members and, where possible to form a local NAW group
  • Encourage (non-Party) women’s groups to affiliate to the NAW, as appropriate
  • Ask NAW comrades to keep the Party informed of activities, policy papers, campaigns, etc













Several approaches made but little progress


Needs communicating

Trade Union work

Women comrades are already active in many unions.  The Party has strength and influence in many unions, including senior officers and lay members, and this forms a good basis for our work.  Women comrades are less involved in trades councils. 

  • Continue to encourage women to be active in their trade union branches, retired members sections, self-organised groups, committees and in campaigning work. Encourage women comrades to attend and be active in local trades councils.
  • Continue to be organised and active at Women’s TUC.  Produce Unity for Women’s TUC
  • Ensure that Party organisations at all levels support women comrades in their trade union work and receive feedback from them.
  • Encourage women comrades to attend Party trade union events, e.g. TU aggregates and advisories
  • Include women speakers, workshop organisers, etc in the agendas/programmes of the above














No evidence

Need to communicate










Charter for Women

This socialist feminist charter was adopted by the CPB Congress in 2002.  It has been adopted by many trades unions and women’s organisations.  It needs continuing support and a profile within the broader People’s Charter movement.

  • Raise awareness of the CfW in the Party
  • Produce Party materials (nationally) on the CfW to support the above
  • Ensure that the section of the Party website on the CfW is up to date and informative.  The text of the CfW should appear in full, together with the most recent annual update of the preamble and any other related information
  • Ask each branch to hold a discussion on the CfW
  • All comrades should promote the CfW in the broad progressive movement and encourage organisations to which they belong to affiliate
  • Promote attendance at the annual CfW conference (This year - Sat. 29 October)

Ask Party for serious consideration of CfW as a matter of urgency


Some ongoing work


CfW to be the main item at next Women’s Advisory/Commission –

6 October 2012

International Work

The work of the newly-formed Women’s Committee of the Coordinating Committee of Communist Parties Domiciled in Britain (WC/CCCPiB) needs support and development

  • Ensure that the CPB is represented at meetings of the WC/CCCPiB.
  • Promote and support events organised by the WC/CCCPiB, including a women’s seminar/university for IWD 2012 (women only) and a social/cultural evening (women and men) – both on Sat. 10 March 2012 in London.





March 2012 events at MML successful

IWD events 2013 – Saturday 9 March in London

The Party needs to learn more of and link more closely with the WIDF

  • The Party should make further contact directly with the WIDF
  • Support the NAW’s work with the WIDF and receive reports

No new direct links – only link via NAW