On Wednesday 21st of November, I had the pleasure of attending the Law Breakers to Law Makers conference hosted at Parliament to talk about the importance of educating women and including women in politics. This conference was in honour of 100 years since the passing of the Qualification for Women Act that allowed women to legally stand for Parliament.
Inspirational women including the Minister for Women, Victoria Atkins MP and Stella Creasy MP both spoke with pride at this centenary celebration event. Two prominent female business leaders and a campaigner for legislation relating to women also championed the progress, but highlighted the need for more work in the years ahead. All of these women had very different experiences and roles, but were ultimately advocating for the same thing: we need to engage and support women, not only in politics, but across the board. All of these women cared deeply about what they do and firmly believe that incorporating women in politics will result in a stronger society.
After listening to those women speak, we broke off into sessions about harnessing the power of women to make a difference in policy and how to access hard to reach women. We worked in groups to talk about and think of solutions to these problems and it was inspiring to see how women of all ages, races, cultures, backgrounds and education levels came together under a common issue. The knowledge that women hold but are not given credit for is astonishing, as I met dozens of empowered women seeking change in politics and society.
Although the 2017 general election boasted a record high for women elected into the House of Commons, men still outnumber women 2:1 in Parliament. While it is great that a record number of women were elected into the Commons, we need the ratio to be more balanced and reflective of wider society.
As a university student in the United States, the current political atmosphere in my country is very similar. Politics is a difficult environment to be involved in if you are a woman. I am not sure what I want to do with my future yet whether it be law, politics, or academia; but I am sure that I will continue to advocate for women’s rights and empower young women to become involved in politics.
Many incredible women that have come before us have paved the way, and it is up to us to continue this path in educating, supporting, and motivating all women.