YOUNG VOICES

What Do Young Women Want? Parliament Tries To Find Out..

21/11/2014 15:00 GMT | Updated 17/02/2015 10:59 GMT

Thanks to Mel Gibson, the phrase "what women want" has become a bit of a cliche, and one which is often bandied about without much thought.

Politics is still heavily dominated by male, middle-class, middle-aged men, but parliament appears to finally begun to realise both youth and women's voices count.

So, in all sincerity, what do young women want?

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An event during Parliament Week attempted to find out. Baroness Young of Hornsey, Margot James MP, Singer/songwriter Eliza Doolittle and Radio One's Gemma Cairney all took part in a panel discussion on this very topic.

We've detailed their thoughts further down, but we also asked our readers to share what is important to them..

What the panellists said:

Margot James MP

  • On social media trolling:

"Look at Jessica Ennis, look at that woman at LSE who just wanted to get women on bank notes, you have to do nothing to get all this!"

  • On mental health

"We do a lot on mental health, a lot of MPs work cross party, and a lot of people work very hard to get rid of the stigma. Compared to 20 years ago, the stigma is quite a lot less. A lot of people would never admit to having depressive episodes ever, and I think we have moved on from that.

"When we talk about adolescence mental health services they are very stretched. I think for the very young there is a very inadequate service and that runs the risk of mental health problems getting worse quite rapidly."

On accusation that politicians out of touch

"I think that some of the negative aspects of the way politicians are slammed, for eating a bacon sandwhich the wrong way etc.. puts more women off coming into politics than men. Women are subjected to a greater level of scrutiny about their weight and what they are wearing.

"Theresa May interestingly has not really engaged with the media throughout her career. The media come to her, she doesn't court them."

On women in politics

"There is a lot of work to redress the balance. The place runs really for men, there have been significant improvements. You need critical mass, there are 20% of us, and it is quite damaging for democracy the way it is."

Columnist Bryony Gordon

  • On Scottish Referendum/ young peoples engagement:

"For the first time in 16-18 year olds turned out to vote in their masses.

"Politicians are now so desperate to engage with young people...it is like your dad dancing at a wedding. But I don't want to see them in a baseball cap or walking round on the beach with their wife in Cornwall. I want to see them working!

"I think politicians need to stop caring so much about what we think of them and stop obsessing about image and engage on a more meaningful level.

"I worry about things like UKIP who are not only dangerous and racist...I can't imagine Nigel Farage as a feminist."

  • On youth political leadership:

"We need someone who is politically engaged, young and fresh."

Radio One's Gemma Cairney

  • On engagement/ paper voting

"There are a huge number of people who feel really let down. Politics is a complete other world to them. Politics seems so unreachable to so many people. I think if you are over a certain age you are used to paper voting, but it is absolutely stoic. It is really hard to remember to register. Loads of people are afraid to register because they are in debt and they don't want the bailiffs coming round!

"We should try and find the ears of young people in more dynamic ways."

  • On housing

"Everyone I know is obsessed with getting a mortgage, we need to focus it on how that affects peoples well-being. I don't think that is talked about enough. I think we should be thinking about the rent system to make that a bit easier. Why do we feel the necessity to have a mortgage? I think if the renting system was kinder to us we would all be a lot happier. "

  • On the importance of the event/ women's issues

"There needs to be more representation, there should be more gentleman in this room, there should be more boys. We should go home and talk to our boyfriends, our dads, our brothers, our bosses and talk about what we did last night. It is important to everyone.

"I need to see the diversity I see in front of me here and on the street in politics. There is no-one that represents me."

Baroness Young of Hornsey

  • On Internet Trolling / Everyday Sexism campaign

"What you have now is the ability for people who would not pick up a pen and write [abuse] to be abusive.

"There are a horrible set of statistics around rape and sexual violence, these are the issues we are dealing with in the modern slavery bill, and there is also this really annoying everyday sexism thing.

"Men don't always see it this way. A lot of men find it difficult to understand how it gets under your skin."

  • On young people

"To me, I think there needs to be an attitude shift in which we need to stop punishing young people and assuming all they do is get drunk and have sex."

Eliza Doolittle

  • On politics

"My disengagement with politics is why I want to get involved."

"I guess for young people its like the agenda, we are not really thought about. We have things taken away from us regularly. I'm not a student, but obviously that is the major one, the prices for university...Youth clubs have been taken away all over the country.

"It is also the feeling that you can't make a difference. I feel like we are never taught politics, even from school. I have never once heard at school, hey we should make a change.

"I don't think the young media talk enough about politics."