The Committee was 18 strong. There were three women appointees (including me) – the other two were, respectively, a District Council elected representative and a retired Social Work Assistant/now Labour Party activist. The men were all, without exception, elected representatives – with the Committee Office Holders being drawn from the Strathclyde Regional Council reps. They were all (with two exceptions) Labour Party members, but, young as I was, it surprised me to discover that status was very important to them – and Regional reps were clearly considered of greater significance than District Council reps…
The gender imbalance was typical of politics and public service of that time. The 90s saw the introduction of One-member-one-vote (Omov – though the electoral college rules water that down) and latterly women-only shortlists for the Labour Party (under John Smith) – but “equality” was a concept viewed with very deep suspicion in the 80s and 90s West of Scotland (in truth, it still is).
I lost count of the number of fights I witnessed and joined, attempting to shift the attitudes of the cabals of Party misogynists who would be up in arms about their preferred male candidate being sidelined in preference to a “stupid wee lassie ootsider wi nae experience”… It always amazed me that many women supported these men. And at a time when women reps were as rare as hens teeth.
Vera, the other woman member, was one of those women. She and I never did see eye-to-eye.
(to be continued)