Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke and Chair of Women and Equalities Select Committee celebrated the outstanding work being done by women during her speech in the House of Commons debate “International Women’s Day 2019”
Maria said “There is much to celebrate , and we shouldn’t be shy in doing so. 100 years ago Nancy Astor was first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons, we have our second female Prime Minister tackling the most difficult political issue we have seen in our political lifetime, record numbers of women are in work, UK has some of the best discrimination laws and for women under 30 Gender Pay Gap has all but evaporated.
But there is much to contemplate too. 40% of women in the UK suffer sexual harassment and millions more around the world, 50,000 a year leave jobs because they are pregnant, those who want to start their own business find only 9% of funding for start-ups goes to women and when she looks to Parliament to fix the problem, she sees that just 1 in 3 MPs are women.
One of the first reports the newly formed Women and Equalities Select Committee published was on Women’s representation in the House of Commons. I was struck by the plans and activities every political party had to address the under representation of women in Parliament.
But when it came to Parliament itself those plans are much less clear. It’s no good political parties recruiting a whole new generation of female MPs for them to arrive in a place that is still more reminiscent of a Gentleman’s Club in the 19th Century than a modern and inclusive place of work.
We need to create a society that enables women to have the same opportunity as men to succeed ….to be their best and that our daughters have the same opportunities as our sons.”
Read the full debate here