Cllr. Tia Roos

Story Number:Story-031
Themes: Government, Heat and eat, Labour, Motherhood, Social media

Being a Labour councillor for me was, um,– there were two defining moments for me in deciding to take politics up, um, which I think is a really hard area for women to get into. It’s where women need to be more vocal, um, but I also think it’s where women are often shouted down, you know its quite a repressive industry.

But the Labour party are very pro women – they literally have a candidacy where to see what it’s, like, they want more women to stand (laugh). So that, that helped to sort of make my mind up about which party to go with, but also that the fact that Jeremy Corbyn has a lot of values that I have, um, that appealed to me.

But the whole point of going into politics for me, er, there was one moment where I was driving – I was working in mental … I work in mental health and, um, it was before I’d taken maternity leave, I was still pregnant, um, and I was driving along and I listened on the radio to a, um, government, um, worker – somebody who was working for the government – for local government, who was struggling for food. And this woman was talking about how she was having salt and pepper on her bread, bread and butter and salt and pepper as a meal, and … goes over the debate of heat and eat, and I felt extremely moved. I felt that that just should not be happening; and it reminded me a little bit of my childhood, that struggle.

And, it just, it just made me so angry that I thought well I spend all day long debating and fighting people online – being an online warrior – but that’s not real life that isn’t actually helping anybody in their day to day life. So I was, like, well I can sit here and complain about it, or I can give it a go (laugh), stand for an election, you know let people know why I’m doing this, be different, be one of the only people – there are three councillors who at present in my council of, I think its thirty-two councillors, only three have children at present and the other two are men. So, I’m the only female with a young child in council and it …it does give you a completely different perspective to everything that happens in a council meeting. And there’s things that I drive home are things they really don’t think about as a woman and a mum – they just – it just goes out the window. So things like what times meetings are. They, you know, you have to argue to have them fit around school hours cos they don’t (laugh) have to drop off any children.
Um, but it means that my voice – as a mum, as a woman – isn’t being heard because a majority of men want to have meeting when there’s a school run happening.

You know it’s all those things they don’t think about. But I sort of argue (laugh) in council – quite often. I’m very argumentative, um, and I’m purposefully argumentative sometimes.

It’s a fact that women tend to be working more care jobs, more zero-hour contracts. I once had four zero-hour contracts at one point. Different jobs to try and make a full-time job, um, and it was stressful, it was wearing, it made me sick, it made me feel depressed overall about my outlook on life and, um, this is another issue that, you know, a lot of councillors, especially men can ignore. They go – well I’ve been working in my full-time job all my life and, you know, what does it matter if we’re living in a seaside town where there’s only zero-hour contract jobs? So I’m always an activist for people presenting “this is the reality, this is real life, this a true story”.

Recorded on 21.09.2018 by Carmen Talbot