Education will give women a greater ability to contribute to the economy, it will help them set up their own businesses, climb the corporate ladder and increase their representation in politics. Access to the education asset is essential in tackling gender inequality and multinational corporations have a proactive role to play.
Ideally the comprehensive system should improve itself so that its schools could provide an education equivalent to the private schools. But this is never going to happen. It could happen, as it does in other countries, if there were no strong private school sector. But the comprehensive system is simply not designed to compete in this way and cannot by its nature.
As I was finishing secondary school, I remember numerous discussions in my home about how we would be able to fund going to college and being a full-time student. Luckily, we found out that we qualified for the EMA scheme. My family lived from week to week, and that £30 was totally significant and at times helped pay electric, gas and for other essentials.
Political parties who want to be in the running for the next election will have to start taking notice of public anger about the UK's unacceptable levels of income inequality. They must set out credible and ambitious policies to achieve a meaningful reduction in our destructive levels of income inequality and arrest the damage to our health, society and economy.
It was clear from the 250 people who attended the panel's outreach meeting on Friday afternoon that we are indeed a diverse bunch. And rightly so - we are meant to be 'civil society', and if our claims to represent the more than one billion who live in poverty are to be taken seriously, we need to represent that range of complex inter-related needs.