Maria was born in Wolverhampton on 26 March 1964. She is married to Iain Miller and they have three children, one daughter and two sons.
Educated at Brynteg Comprehensive, Bridgend, South Wales, Maria went on to study at London School of Economics.
Maria was first elected to represent Basingstoke in the 2005 General Election.
Before entering Parliament, Maria worked for 20 years in marketing, including board level experience, and appreciates some of the pressures faced by working parents.
On becoming a Member of Parliament, Maria was appointed to the Trade and Industry Select Committee. David Cameron appointed her as Shadow Minister for Education in December 2005, then Shadow Minister for Family Welfare in the Department for Work and Pensions in November 2006. Maria moved back to the Education team as Shadow Minister for the Family in July 2007 and remained in post until the 2010 General Election.
Maria was appointed Minister for Disabled People at the Department for Work and Pensions in the Coalition Government in May 2010 and was promoted to Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Minister for Women and Equalities, from September 2012 to April 2014.
In June 2015 Maria was elected as Chair of the newly established Women and Equalities Select Committee. Maria was nominated for the position by MPs across the House in 2017 and was re-elected unopposed.
Select Committee on Administration 2020-,
Panel of Chairs 2020-,
Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology 2021 -
Joint Committee on Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2020-21
All-party groups (office-holding)
Officer, Learning Disability Group 2015-
Officer, Carbon Monoxide Group 2017-
Vice-chair, Women, Peace and Security Group 2020-
Vice-chair, South Western Railway Group 2020-
Vice-chair, British Hindus Group 2020-
Chair, Women in Parliament Group 2020-
Vice-chair, Digital Regulation and Responsibility Group 2020-
Vice-chair, Chalk Streams Group 2020-
Chair, United Nations Women Group 2020-
Officer, Domestic Violence and Abuse Group 2020-
Vice-chair, Perpetrators of Domestic Abuse Group 2021-
Vice-chair, Global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) Rights Group 2021-
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (unremunerated)
Director & trustee 12 July 2017-
Vice-chair 2020 -
Trustee Belarus Free Theatre (unremunerated) 2017 -
Board of Governors of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (unremunerated) 5 November 2020 -