MPs have been asked to invite a female constituent to an event tomorrow in Parliament to celebrate one hundred years of women being able to stand for Parliament. The event is organised by 50:50 Parliament with the support of the Jo Cox Foundation, Fawcett Society and the Centenary Action Group.
November 21st marks one hundred years since the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act, which gave women over the age of twenty one the right to run for public office. Nancy Astor was the first female MP to take her seat, after being elected in 1919.
I’m delighted that the Government is able to support this exciting initiative. One of our main aims for this centenary of women winning the right to stand for Parliament is to encourage more women to get more involved in politics. I hope that the women who take part on 21 November are inspired to take that next step. – Victoria Atkins, Minister for Women
Tomorrow’s event aims to “inspire and encourage a diverse range of women to stand for public office” as part of 50:50 Parliament’s #AskHerToStand campaign. Women make up only 32% of MPs. In the last centenary, there has only been 491 women MPs compared to 4503 men. Comparatively, 491 women is a number not far off the number of male MPs who currently sit in the House of Commons.
In the Conservative Party, women account for only 21% of MPs. We’re lightyears ahead of where we were before 2010, but we’ve still got a mountain to climb. According to 50:50 Parliament, if we continue at the current rate, it would take another fifty years to achieve equal representation in Parliament.
Tomorrow’s event is supported by the Jo Cox Foundation. Writing for the Huffington Post, the foundation’s CEO, Catherine Anderson said “there can be no better arena to make our mark than on the timely issue of the need for a truly gender representative Parliament”.
The invited women will get to watch Prime Minister’s Questions, take part in workshops and panel discussions attended by the likes of Helen Pankhurst, Harriet Harman and Vicky Ford.
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