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Downing Street Catwalk May Be 'Heinously Sexist' But It Will Inspire Young Girls To Get Into Politics

17/07/2014 12:20 BST | Updated 16/09/2014 10:59 BST

When I first saw the Daily Mail's coverage of the cabinet reshuffle, my heart sank.

What should have been a pivotal moment for women in British politics was reduced to nothing more than a "heinously sexist" fashion critique.

But then Esther McVey - Employment Minister and recently-crowned queen of the 'Downing St catwalk' - spoke out to welcome the coverage.

Watching glamorous women walk into No. 10 will inspire a new generation of girls - from all backgrounds - to get into politics, she said.

daily mail

And, as a girl from a less well-off background, I'm inclined to agree. Because this isn't solely a gender issue, but a class issue.

If you think that politicians are out-of-touch and difficult to relate to, imagine being a 16-year-old girl at a bad secondary school in Essex.

Seeing someone one can relate to - not just someone who also happens to be female - is the only way to show young girls what they can achieve.

And it would be disingenuous to say that young girls (and women) don't relate to appearance.

What the 'Downing St catwalk' shows is that women can be powerful, successful, hard-working... and dress well. A quality that, in the Age Of Selfies And Snapchat, is going to resonate with a younger generation of women.

We can't continue to dictate what young girls should be aspiring towards, but rather listen and tap into their conversations.

And politicians aren't the only ones setting a relatable example.

Take Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer for example, who appeared on the cover of Vogue in 2013.

marissa mayer

While the shoot may have ruffled a few Silicon Valley feathers, the glamorous shoot did a lot to shake up the stereotypes about female engineers.

Another woman who understands how to inspire young girls is Suzie Wolff, Formula 1's first female driver in 22 years.

When working with Mercedes she was given a pink car to drive. She hated it, but after a while came to realise the power of talking to girls on their level.

"I had lots of little girls coming over to me - dressed in pink - and their dads said 'they weren't interested in the racing, and then they saw this pink car and wanted to know about it'," she told HuffPost UK Lifestyle.

While I abhor coverage that objectifies women and reduces them to body parts, at least the coverage has started the right kind of conversation, as Esther McVey says.

Holding up successful out-of-touch women isn't going to cut it, we need role models. Real role models.