POLITICIANS and community groups came together at Llanelli Library on Friday (Mar 8) to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Nia Griffith MP and Helen Mary Jones AM were present and spoke about the issues facing women today.
Although the two politicians spoke about their concerns over violent crime against women, lack of opportunities in the workplace and safety on the streets, they also focused on the positive activity taking place across Llanelli.
Nia Griffith MP said that women should stop retreating and say ‘I am as good as anybody else’.
Speaking to Llanelli Online at the event the MP said: “We have achieved lots but today I heard a startling statistic. Only 1% of business start ups are started by women. It is astounding.
“I would like to say to everybody, don’t think of this as a celebration we all have to get out there and make sure women take every single opportunity.”
The MP also spoke about the inequality, which still exists and the perceptions of women in general.
She said: “The problem is that although we have made a lot of progress there are still many many spheres where it doesn’t seem that women are getting through to the top but it doesn’t seem that we are making the best use of all that talent that there is out there. Just one example today. We’ve just seen kick boxing.
“From Llanelli there have been four people who have gone forward to be real champions and three of those have been women and yet I suspect that if I said kick boxing champion they would probably imagine a man.
“So it’s really important that we think of all the different things women have started doing and we think of the things that perhaps they’re not so well known for and we also think about making sure we get progress and so we must stop being complacent and must keep going forward.”
Helen Mary Jones spoke about the challenges women face but also about the need to celebrate what women have achieved.
She said: “We have huge challenge before us before we can say that women and men are equal.
“There are women in lots of inspirational roles and I would like to pay tribute to Nia for the work that she is doing.
“Anybody who can manage to survive at Westminster with everything that is going on is somebody we should be grateful to.
“It’s wonderful to celebrate here today Lets celebrate what we have achieved, lets remember what we have to learn and lets remember that girls can fight when we have too.
“There is still outright discrimination in the workplace and beyond. It’s still true that in the vast majority of families women do most of the caring work, whether that’s for children or that’s for elderly relatives.
“Women still get paid almost a third less for work of equal value than men do so we’ve got a long way to go.
“I have been talking privately here to some women about individual experiences of outright discrimination.
“The atmosphere at this event is one of celebration and it is women talking about what they have achieved and some of that has been achieved in the face of some really difficult circumstances.
“Money stolen and having to start businesses again. While we are talking about the problems there is also a lot to celebrate.
“It has been wonderful to see women from communities and cultures across Llanelli here to celebrate today.”
The event, which included free entertainment and free food was organised by the Llanelli Community Partnership and representatives of that group including Paolo Piana and Delyth Jones also spoke at the event.
A number of community groups were present including Cor Curiad, the Tenovus choir, Llanelli Multicultural Networking, WCVA, Mid and West Fire and Rescue Service and WKO Kickboxing Llanelli.