Weekly Roundup, 7th - 13th March

My weekly round up of work in the European Parliament, the UK and beyond! This week, a voting session in Strasbourg, had a particular focus on International Womens' Day.

Last week there were lots of celebrations! Not only was it my birthday, my son's birthday and my mother's birthday but it was also International Women's Day and a lot of important legislation was passed in the European Parliament. Watch my IWD speech below!

Over the past few months I have been helping to write a report on 'gender mainstreaming', which is Euro-speak for making sure that we look at all new EU laws through the eyes of men, women and our LGBTI community to make sure that it is equal for all. This report was passed by the Parliament, which is another step towards greater gender equality. In the same week, a report by my Labour colleague Mary Honeyball, calling for more gender sensitivity when dealing with the refugee crisis,  was also adopted, which was brilliant news. Meanwhile, I drew particular attention to the worsening if the situation for refugees in ad hoc camps such as those at Calais and Dunkirk during the speech below.

As a children's rights campaigner I was pleased to speak on the importance of education to prevent children getting into trouble with the law and the re-integration of those that have gone through the criminal justice system. I also spoke on the introduction of a social triple A rating to try and lift more people out of poverty.

Back in the UK, I was the guest speaker at a Labour Party meeting in Ulverston where I was pleased to meet Cumbria's first non-white mayor, Cllr Dr Bharath Rajan.

Saturday saw me at the TUC headquarters in London, speaking about the threat to our cultural industries by the devastating Tory cuts. This is part of a campaign called 'Show Culture Some Love' and I was pleased to be on the conference panel with David Fleming, Director of Liverpool Museums and Clara Paillard of PCS Union. Although we are living in difficult times delegates found much to celebrate with a successful campaign in 2015 to reinstate sacked National Gallery worker and shop steward, Candy Udwin, and the hot news that the Art Not Oil campaign had resulted in BP and Tate Gallery parting company over a controversial sponsorship deal. In December, I had been a speaker for the campaign alongside Natalie Bennett of the Green Party.

I'm now in New York with the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee attending the UN Women's Conference - more from me when I get back to the UK.