Women have come a very long way in the last century, this is not the time to be downcast


Gender Equality is something that is a hot topic, especially within politics and high managerial positions, such as the CEOs or MDs of big corporations. While it is a challenge, unlike Eleanor Pownall, who wrote ‘Britain is incapable of another female prime minister’, I don’t believe that it is absolutely impossible.

For starters, campaigns such as #Emilymatters, a campaign that supports and promotes gender equality, especially when it comes to voting, prove that, outside of Parliament, women are engaged in politics just as much as men. Further to this, 50:50 Parliament, a campaign, backed by MPs themselves for a gender-balanced Parliament, shows that there is support for the progress of women in politics.

On the other hand, I do accept that we have a way to go towards achieving that goal. It does not, however, indicate that there will never be another female PM. The very fact that there are currently 33 women in senior positions; leaders, whips, ministers, parliamentary undersecretaries or otherwise, is a positive step in the right direction. In the last thirteen years, four of the last seven leaders of the House of Lords have been female.

Coming from the third sector, I have also recently noticed that many charities are now being led by women and while this may be a different world to politics, it is still a great example of women in senior, decision-making positions. One great example is the CEO of vInspired, Jessica Taplin, who just started the role late last year, although previous to that, the charity had three other female CEOs.

The wider issue, outside politics, is the position of women in business and organisations, some of which  the government may end up working with. While I am not a supporter of championing one gender over the other, seeing more women and people of minorities, such as the disabled and ethnic minorities, in high positions can’t be a bad thing.

While it may be a long time ago, a century to be precise, Parliament had no women at all, let alone as ministers in the cabinet. I admit it, there is still work to do but at the same time, we have come a very long way in 100 years and hopefully in the next few years, we can carry on that good work. Then, at least we might increase the chances of there one day, once again, being a female PM.

In the last few decades, we have hit some pretty massive milestones. From the end of the 1970s to now, we have had the first female PM, first female leader of the House of Lords, first female speaker of the House of Commons and the first Lord Speaker. Now what would Nancy Astor, the first female to sit as an MP think of that?

This, I know, will not be enough to convince everyone, however, it has happened once and it can and likely will happen again. It is not the end of senior positions in government for women, quite the opposite; but at the same time, this doesn’t mean that those who have worked to get to this stage can now sit back and relax. While there may be a lot of evidence to suggest that women do not engage as much in politics as men, isn’t it time that we as a nation, prove the statistics wrong? I think so. After all, we are a democracy.

While we can’t decide who leads a party, the one thing we can do is vote in a way that makes the political parties sit up and listen. If there is something that the public want, it is up to them to vote and campaign for change to happen. We have come leaps and bounds, let’s not stop now.

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