Custom Search 1

Helping women win

INSPIRING WOMEN: Helen Grant recently hosted the ‘Women in the business of design’ event where she met with Noreen Chada, founder of @DemurMagazine, left, and Hilary Alexander OBE, former fashion director of the Daily Telegraph, right

ONE OF THE enduring themes of my time over the past 10 years, as a candidate, an MP and a minister, has been the promotion of women in leadership in all avenues, be it business, politics, media, sport, and so on.

My own search for a place in Parliament was guided by the excellent Women2Win organisation, which I continue to support in its drive to find future female Conservative Parliamentary candidates.

I then became Minister for Women and Equalities in 2012, which informed me hugely of the gender gap in every way. Now, as a Vice Chairman of my party I continue to look for ways to support the cause whenever I can.

A century ago there was no female representation in the House of Commons but thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of countless women before me, it is now possible for me to have the job that I love as MP.

Indeed, this year marks the centenary of the right for women to vote for the first time, when the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed by Lloyd George’s Conservative-dominated wartime government.

ENCOURAGING

Last week was the last Prime Minister’s Questions of the Parliamentary year and, as 650 MPs gathered in the historic chamber, it was greatly encouraging to look around and see so many female colleagues around me, on both sides of the House.

And with our second female Prime Minister in No 10, we are sending a message to young girls up and down the UK that nothing is beyond their reach. That same day I also had the pleasure of hosting an event in the Palace of Westminster called ‘Women in the business of design’.

It was promoting some of our inspiring female entrepreneurs and I was honoured to meet so many talented women from all walks of life – each with their own individual stories to tell.

But we must ensure the younger people in society are engaged and inspired as well, because they will be our leaders of tomorrow.We cannot just rest on our laurels and assume we are heading in the right direction.

We must continue to be active and engage ourselves, as we can only realise these changes through action. On our last day of term before the summer recess I had a great opportunity to progress that agenda when I attended an event with Women2Win and the Fawcett Society, speaking with sixth formers.

PRIVILEGE

I believe these early conversations are essential to ensure young people are aware of the opportunities to allow them to make the most of their futures.

Even if just one young girl is encouraged to believe that she has what it takes, in whatever forum of activity, the effort will have been worth it.

It was a privilege to speak to so many engaging young women and we must strive to fill the green benches with many more. Our fight is for equal participation, not just in politics, but in all areas of public life.

We must do everything we can to protect equality and encourage girls and young women to stand tall with the confidence to know that if they work hard and aim high, they can achieve anything.

If you feel I may be able to offer you advice and guidance about your aspirations both inside out outside politics, I would be delighted to hear from you.

Please contact me at helen.grant.mp@parliament.uk.

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.

Facebook Comments