Theresa May has advised younger women they do not need to be the “stereotype of a man” in order to have a successful career in politics.
Speaking to journalists to mark the 100-year anniversary of some women getting the vote on Tuesday, the prime minister was asked what advice she would give to her younger self .
“When I first became an MP there were only 13 Conservative women MPs. The number is considerably more now – over 60,” she said.
“I think the important thing for a woman in politics, I would say, is be yourself, actually. Women do often approach ... their way of doing politics is sometimes different from men. It’s the same in business as well. That it doesn’t mean it’s not just as good and it is just as good.
“Be yourself. Don’t feel you have to be a stereotype of a man to get on in politics, be yourself, and believe in what you’re doing.”
May, who was first elected to parliament in 1997, said she had been focused on “taking steps to improve the lives of women” in all her ministerial positions.
Jeremy Corbyn has announced Labour would grant an official apology and pardon for the suffragettes if it wins the next election.
On the centenary of some women over 30 achieving the right to vote, the government is facing calls to overturn the convictions of female activists jailed before the implementation of the Representation of the People Act.
“As a country, we must recognise and honour the enormous contribution and sacrifice made by women who campaigned for the right to vote,” Corbyn said on Tuesday.
Amber Rudd has said she will “look at” calls to pardon suffragettes who were treated as criminals during their fight for the right to vote.
But the home secretary stressed it was “complicated” when looking at cases of arson and violence, but promised to analyse individual proposals.