What did you dream of being when you were little? Being a princess, pop star or an actor? Well I wanted to be Prime Minister. I dreamt of my face being immortalized by a Spitting Image mask or standing outside number 10 waving to the crowds as I took my place leading our country's government. Sounds a bit weird for a little girl doesn't it? Well yes. And that's exactly my point.
50:50 Parliament is an online petition that simply calls for the British government to have a debate on how to get more women involved in politics. So that our current proportion of having only 23% female MPs looks a bit more like 50%. Seeing this circulating on twitter is something the little girl inside me feels very excited about.
As a teenager something changed. And I can't quite put my finger on why but I didn't think about being Prime Minister as much anymore. It seemed impossible; I was dyslexic, highly emotional and more importantly not confident enough to ever really tell anyone that this was what I wanted to be. I starting looking at the women in the public eye and took notice of the people we admired, the strong ones. They were always beautiful, always sexy and didn't often step outside the confines of convention. I just didn't see any role models in the political world.
This could have been the eyes of a naïve teenager obsessed with Britney Spears or being a bystander of 90's 'lads mags' culture, but it felt like you couldn't be anything unless you were attractive too. Setting my sites on this new sort of dream is a battle I'm still fighting now. Sometimes as a woman you feel like, if only I could be a bit thinner or prettier then maybe people would listen to me more? As if my opinions would somehow be worth more if people thought I was attractive.
But some women, in the lead up to this general election have finally rid me of these anxieties. Because when they spoke I didn't even think about the fact that they were women. And that's how I think it should be, they were just brilliant politicians like the men around them. Watching Natalie Bennett, Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood standing shoulder to shoulder with the leaders of the main parties, I realized finally that nothing else matters but your politics. I don't even mind too much about the pink bus. With 9 million women not voting in the last election, Harriet Harman is trying to do something about the lack of women getting involved. Props to her.
With the election around the corner I bet your thinking, well things might change this time? Loads of women could be voted in. Well sadly it's very unlikely with women only representing 26.1% of candidates and experts saying new candidates are often placed in hard to win seats. It's like saying, sure you can join in the race but we're going to give you a slightly slower car.
It often feels frustrating to divide stats into men v women. This isn't something myself or 5050 Parliament want to do, but sometimes it's vital to show how the land currently lies. Women, like men, are so diverse in our characters and ambitions. I wouldn't vote for someone just because they are a woman. I'd vote for them because I think they'd make a good MP. And women just as much as men can make good politicians, it feels strange that I even have to make that point.
In a modern Britain equality is often debated. We often ask ourselves, are we really equal yet? In Parliament unfortunately the statistics speak for themselves, we are devastatingly underrepresented with more male MP's in 2015 than there have ever been women. Men are the 77%, leaving women with less than a quarter of the space. In Britain we shockingly rate in 68th place in the world in terms of equal representation. It's no wonder young women don't feel like they can follow their political ambitions because we just aren't as visible. Since Nancy Astor, our first female MP, took her seat in 1919 we have been too slow. If we continue to progress at the slow pace we have done in the three elections Princess Charlotte will be pension age before we have equal numbers of men and women in Parliament.
Life experiences really shape the way we see the world and Parliament needs to reflect a diverse range of experiences and worldviews. Women are a part of that. But this isn't just about women, it's about LGBT, race, disability and social economic back grounds. Parliament make and change our laws, it's not good enough to be waiting so long to finish the work of human rights campaigners. There is a very easy way to make sure our parliament is as current as we are, it is this: representation, representation, representation.
To ask for a debate on gender equality in Parliament sign here: change.org/5050parliament