We’re one step closer to gender equality in parliament following DC’s reshuffle last week! At least from a statistical view point and numbers don’t lie…right?
There’s a lot of back and forth in the media about this recent inclusion of 3 women in senior positions in the cabinet as ‘token’ and PR driven. Many also say they don’t have enough time to make any sort of impact before the May ’15 election (has it been 4 years already!?). Whatever the opinion, fact is that the appointment of Nicky Morgan, Liz Truss and Esther McVey means that five of the 17 full Tory Cabinet members are now women.
I don’t think it does any good to dwell on the ‘if and why’ of it all. Partly because it’s insulting to the politicians in question and also, at the risk of sounding like a petulant teenager (my parents are going to have a good laugh at this!), SO WHAT?! I’ve come to the conclusion that everything in life should pass the ‘so what?’ test. I think the end – and hopefully lasting – result here is far more important than dissecting the process behind it: more women are in positions of meaningful power in Parliament. Sure, there needs to be a critical mass for a culture change to take place but it’s a positive. Let’s not belittle it.
And as Hilary Clinton, someone who is very qualified to comment, said ‘You cannot be what you cannot see’. So, this media coverage good or bad is still a great awareness raising exercise for the younger generation!
Anyway, back to the point of HOW to become an MP. As I’ve mentioned I don’t know the answer, hence this blog’s existence but I thought taking a quick look at the journeys of Nicky, Liz and Esther would be a good source of inspiration. So here we go;
- The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP
According to her official bio, Nicky has taken what seems to be a well trodden path, from reading law at St Hugh’s College, Oxford to qualifying as a solicitor in 1996, specialising in corporate law for 14 years before the 2010 election came calling. This was followed by serving a number of roles within Parliament; private secretary, assistant whip, financial secretary.
- The Rt Hon Liz Truss MP
Another familiar start for Liz – she studied philosophy, politics and economics at MertonCollege, Oxford and, similarly, entered Parliament after the 2010 elections. Life before politics was varied, with roles from Deputy Director at Reform to commercial manager and economics director within the energy and telecommunications industry for 10 years.
- The Rt Hon Esther McVey M
We have another Law graduate. That seems to be where the traditional route ends for Esther, a long career in broadcasting and journalism followed; including roles at the BBC, GMTV and Channel 4.
In 2000, she established her own business setting up office space for new start-up companies as well as establishing the biggest business women’s network in the North West.
A woman after my own heart!
Has this given you any inspiration or are you as dazed as confused as ever? For me, there is still a traditional and rigid journey but it’s becoming more flexible…and that can only be a positive sign!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below – any other interesting MP journeys you’ve come across?