Setting the Record Straight - Safeguarding Female Records and Voices in Welsh Politics 1999-2019
Women Assembly Members 2003
During the next eighteen months Women’s Archive Wales will be working with the National Assembly for Wales to undertake a new project called ‘Setting the Record Straight: safeguarding the records and voices of women in Welsh politics. Gwir Gofnod o Gyfnod’. To realize this exciting project we have succeeded in securing two generous grants – from The Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Assembly.
2019-20 is a significant milestone in the history of the National Assembly for Wales, as it celebrates 20 years since it was established in 1999. From its beginning the Assembly has exceeded the proportion of women among its members compared with other similar legislative Assemblies and Parliaments. Indeed, following the Assembly elections of 2003 NAW achieved the status as the first legislature to achieve a 50:50 gender balance.
‘Setting the Record Straight’ will produce an authoritative record of the experiences of the 60 plus women Assembly Members (AMs) who have served the institution since 1999. A wealth of primary evidence has accumulated in the records and testimonies of those closely involved in the first decades of devolution. Some of these women have held seats since 1999, some have held important government posts and they all have an interesting and personal story to tell which is of great significance to our democratic history and heritage. Very few of them, to date, have deposited their material collections of documents, photographs and papers for safeguarding for the future in recommended repositories.
We will also be organising oral history interviews with all these women AMs, examining their backgrounds, how they became engaged in politics, what difficulties they encountered, their particular political interests, the campaigns they championed and why and so on. These records and stories must be preserved for the future. It will be the Archive’s privilege to contribute to safeguarding this important historical archive. We have appointed a team of officers to fulfil these aims now and we look forward eagerly to starting on the work.