It is International Women’s day today (8th March), and it is the centenary year of some women acquiring the right to vote as a result of the Representation of the People Act 1918. Inequality is still rife in many working sectors, and although we have come a long way, progress is not being made fast enough.
Many events have been taking place in and around parliament to celebrate this milestone in history.
The most interesting of these events was the #deedsnotwords panel which included Jess Phillips, Tulip Siddiq and Harriet Harman. The one quote from the panel that stood out above the rest was from Harriet Harman, and is as follows: ‘Men in parliament need to aspire to support female leadership in the same way they aspire to be leaders themselves’.
The Conservative Party have had two female prime ministers, yet Labour are yet to have a female leader. Clearly, there is still work to be done.
I was honoured to be chosen as the Young Labour Women’s officer for this year. It got me thinking, who are the women that inspire me, and who would I thank and credit for my success? Here are the women that came to mind:
- Alison McGovern (Labour MP Wirral South and Chair of Progress)
- Jess Phillips (Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley and chair of the Women and Equalities Committee)
- Stephanie Lloyd (LGBT Labour Treasurer and Deputy Director of Progress)
- Ayesha Hazarika (comedienne, broadcaster and former advisor to Harriett Harman)
- Angela Rayner (Labour MP for Ashton-Under-Lyne and Shadow Education Secretary)
- Paula Sherriff (Labour MP for Dewsbury and Shadow Mental Health minister)
- Luciana Berger (Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree and chair on the Labour campaign for mental health)
- Roberta Metsola (Maltese MEP for Malta and Gozo)
- Ira Losco (Maltese singer and former Eurovision representative for Malta)
- Dawn Butler (Labour MP for Brent Central and Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary)
- Harriet Harman (Labour MP for Camberwell and Peckham and Mother of the House of Commons)
- Ruslana Lyzhychko (2004 Eurovision winner, ex Ukrainian MP and Ukrainian activist)
It is these sorts of people we need to celebrate. Women are, still to this very day, absent from many areas. To quote from Jess Phillips' book, Everywoman: ‘If we see a woman with potential, then we should pester her with opportunities…We women will only succeed if we start pushing each other’.