In 2003 the Senedd became the first legislative body in the world to achieve parity, a 50:50 split of women and men.

For many people this is where it ends, with many people seeing this as having achieved diversity.

It would take another 18 years for us to elect a woman of colour to the Senedd. The interviews so far for the Setting the Record Straight – Gwir Gofnod o Gyfnod project are not representative of Wales and our stories. This project aims to “capture the voices and papers of the current and former female Members of the Senedd (previously known as Assembly Members, AMs) who have been elected to our national parliament during its first twenty years”.

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From the start, the Senedd has exceeded the proportion of women among its Members compared to other similar legislative Assemblies and Parliaments. Following the elections of 2003, the Senedd achieved the status as the first legislature to achieve a gender balance. This was an event of international significance to many but for more of us it was just another stark reminder of the increasingly common view that diversity is about binary gender.

The National Heritage Lottery Fund is sponsoring this project but at what cost? We cannot be creating yet another archive that raises the voice of cisgendered white women while the rest of us are excluded.

Women have played a major role in the story of devolution in Wales and their records and stories should be preserved for the future. Women of colour have a role to play in this too. We seldom hear about the role of women of colour, transgender women or even women with disabilities in the story of devolution. I would love to hear more about the different types of campaigning in different communities but more historians are not looking into this.

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It is great to see the inclusion of members for the first Welsh Youth Parliament however the same issue of diversity still stands. In order to create a Wales with a diverse range of women at the forefront of their fields as well as public life, we need to ensure that people have someone to look up to who reflects their struggles and their pride. We need to be featuring women who have overcome all sorts of adversity to succeed and make history here in Wales.

The devolution story is multifaceted and stretches across fields so only having the history of white women and making it seem like this is to represent all women in politics is insulting. To those of us who are not represented in the archive currently, it looks like people like us did nothing, sitting on our hands during one of the greatest constitutional upheavals of recent years.

I would be curious to know the diversity of those running the project. The archive is uniquely placed to play an important contribution to capture a facet of the devolution story and ensure that the voice of women is appropriately heard when future generations look back at the story of Welsh democracy. A range of women played a role in that story and they need to be heard.

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While we do not agree on much politically, I am excited to see Natasha Ashgar feature in this archive, along with every woman who played a role in the story of devolution.

We need to make sure the archive features a range of women or we will be where we are years down the line: struggling to diversify our Senedd.

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