Women In Politics
A record number of female MPs were elected to Parliament on Thursday, with 207 women taking seats in the House Of Commons
It matters a great deal that Parliament reflects the range of backgrounds and experiences we have in this country. We all lose out if our politics is limited to one demographic rather than the diverse talents of the UK.
This is a time when we are driving more spending and decision making down to local level. Yet the evidence we have uncovered reveals an outdated culture which is holding local government back. It is ripe for change. In the summer our commission's final report will make recommendations to the political parties, councils, and central government so that we can begin to change the face of local politics.
I write to you reflecting on International Women's Day to say that 50:50 Parliament is here to support and elevate you and any phenomenal women you know to become MPs. Come and start your own political journey, and you never know, in a few year's time we could be on the green benches working together to ensure that our country is a place of true opportunity, collaboration and diversity.
The fact is that cultural and systemic barriers remain for women in our politics. Unless we address those barriers our politicians will not be representative of the people they serve and our politics will be all the worse for it.
Women need power to change things. You can't change things if you are a name on a ballot, a quota filled - you need your seat in Parliament. Participation is the start, but power is the end. Jo knew that - it's why she worked so hard across party lines to make sure that women were running for seats they could win and it's why she herself joined a party where she stood a shot of becoming an MP and, one day, a minister, even a Prime Minister. Jo had courage, but she was also unashamed to have ambition. She wanted to go far, and she wanted to lift up others as she climbed. There's no stain in aspiring to the highest office in your country. It doesn't taint the purity of your purpose. Today, I want to say to you loudly and clearly - Have the highest of ambitions for yourself, for your purpose.
There is no better time than on Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of women in STEM, to bring these issues to the forefront. The comments that Trump has made may be reflective of a small slice of society which thinks it is acceptable to objectify and disrespect women, but, the world of politics must be as proactive as the world of science in eradicating these ignorant and intolerable attitudes.
Twenty years after women flooded the UK with their demands, they still make up this country's poorest people. They are still murdered at a rate of two a week, by a partner or former partner. And their domestic labour is still invisible and unpaid. It is time for women to raise their voices again. This time a feminist political force is listening.
It's so depressing, and the depression is heightened by the fact that it should be so exciting. If you asked me how I should
It feels like a historic moment, 24 February 2016. Actor Emma Watson, at 25 a rising-star feminist, is set to interview the revolutionary Gloria Steinem, 85-year-old activist, campaigner, legend. Outspoken-celebrity Britain meets era-defining America. One has seen the light; the other has lit the way.