“We are not making the progress we think we’re making” – Stella Creasy MP
Women make up 51% of the UK’s population, but just 29% of MPs in the House of Commons. The issue of underrepresentation and sexism within Parliament is one that many MPs feel strongly about, particularly Stella Creasy (Labour), Harriett Baldwin (Conservative), and Caroline Lucas (Green). They’re all great supporters of 50:50 and we all really appreciate their dedication to the cause.
Stella Creasy’s interest in politics began with her membership of the Young Fabian Society, the youth branch of the socialist organisation-turned-think tank. Since then she’s spent time working as a speech writer and researcher for several ministers in the last Labour government, and in 2010 was selected as the Labour candidate for Walthamstow, where she was elected with a 55% majority. She was re-elected in the 2015 General Election with a 17% increase in her share of the vote. While in Parliament, Stella has worked hard to ensure that her constituents are better off now than they were before she was elected, and is particularly passionate about the capping of payday loans, as she saw the crippling interest rates that seriously affected many of the people in her area. Stella has been the victim of many sexist and abusive messages on micro-networking site Twitter, and she has publicly spoken about how sexism in the Commons is pervasive and alarming. Stella is a big supporter of 50:50 Parliament and believes that real progress can only be made if we’re all aware of the imbalance and work together to combat it.
Harriett Baldwin has been the Conservative MP for West Worcestershire since 2010, and during her time in Parliament has acted as both chair and vice-chair for various All Party Parliamentary Groups. In February 2014 she was appointed Assistant Government Whip, and then in July 2014 was made the Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury. She is currently serving as Economic Secretary to the Treasury. All of this success didn’t come easily to her, though – she spent over two decades building her investment career at JP Morgan, and was Head of Currency Management for a period. With time spent working in two male-dominated industries, Harriett’s support of gender equality in Parliament comes from a place of experience. Sexism doesn’t belong in the workplace, and she knows this. It is fantastic to have someone of Harriett’s considerable influence in favour of gender equality in Parliament. Hopefully she can help effect some real change!
Caroline Lucas is the Green Party’s only MP currently sitting in Parliament. She was made leader of the party in 2008 and was elected to Westminster in 2010 as the MP for Brighton Pavilion. In 2012 she stood down from being party leader, deciding to dedicate more time to her Parliamentary duties. Before Caroline was an MP, she was the Member of the European Parliament for South East England, a role she had from 1999 to 2010. Caroline identifies as a feminist, and in 2013 was reprimanded by the House Speaker for wearing a t-shirt with the “No More Page Three” logo to a debate on the issue. She has long been a supporter of gender equality in Parliament and recognises that sexism is part of the daily fabric of our lives, something we all need to work to change. “In politics, as in many other professional spheres, there are institutional barriers,” Caroline stated in a 2013 interview. But the barriers have to be broken, and Caroline is ready to do so.
These women are the type of strong female role leaders young girls need. Without strong role models, how can girls see that they can do anything?