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Jeremy Corbyn And Owen Smith Promise Gender Equality At All Levels Of The Labour Party

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Photo by: Tracey Paddison/REX/Shutterstock.
Labour leadership candidates Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith have each made "groundbreaking pledges" to ensure gender equality at all levels of the party, the Labour Women's Network has said today.

Noting that "this has been a difficult time for women in the Party, with women bearing the brunt of abuse and harassment," the Labour Women's Network (LWN), which has been campaigning for better female representation within the party since 1988, asked both candidates to endorse what they call a "comprehensive agenda for women’s equality in Labour."

The agenda, which both Corbyn and Smith have agreed to support, asks the leadership candidates to "ensure 50:50 membership of Labour's Shadow Cabinet/Cabinet (including the four great offices of state)." This means that at least two of the top four positions within the shadow government - Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Chancellor, Shadow Foreign Secretary and Shadow Home Secretary - will be filled by women.

Both candidates also answered "yes" to the question, "Will you support a rule change in the future to ensure Labour has at least one woman in the leadership team?" Because the Labour Party's "leadership team" is characterised as its leader and deputy leader, The Guardian reports, both Corbyn and Smith appear to have effectively committed to picking a female second-in-command once the result of September's Labour leadership vote is revealed.

LWN shared Corbyn and Smith's pledges, which also include taking action to "ensure [constituency] boundary changes don’t reduce the number of Labour women MPs," on Twitter. Smith had previously promised that half of the shadow cabinet and half of Labour's MPs will be women if he succeeds in replacing Corbyn as the party's leader.
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