Theresa May warns women still not represented in politics
The centenary of women gaining the right to vote should inspire women into politics, Theresa May has said.
The Prime Minister said women were still underrepresented at Westminster, adding that ‘greater female representation makes a real difference’.
Mrs May also said there were ‘many other groups’ who did not feel properly reflected in public life, including ethnic minorities, the LGBT community and people from poorer backgrounds.
Celebrating the role of women in Parliament, the Prime Minister reflected that ‘nearly all’ the political parties have a female leader or deputy.
At a Westminster Hall reception, she said: ‘I’m the 54th person to be Prime Minister of this country, but only the second to be a woman.
‘Women make up half the population of this country, yet only a third of its MPs.
‘I’ve long campaigned to get more women into public life at all levels. It’s not about appearances, or even just about giving women an equal chance to get on.
‘I want to see more women in politics and government because greater female representation makes a real difference to everyone’s lives.
‘The same is true of the many other groups who do not see themselves properly reflected in public life.
‘People from minority ethnic groups, members of the LGBT community, people with disabilities, or those from less privileged backgrounds.’
She said the proportion of MPs educated at comprehensives reached a record high last year, but at 51%, it was still far short of the 88% in the population as a whole.
In a speech just yards from where suffragettes clashed with police in 1910, Mrs May said it was time to celebrate the tens of thousands of ‘ordinary women and men’ involved in the suffrage movement.
Mr May said the ability of women to vote should never be taken for granted as she highlighted moves to ensure protection for victims of domestic violence.
Measures to make it easier for those who are at risk of abuse to register and vote anonymously will be debated on Wednesday.
‘I’m sure that, in the week of this significant anniversary for women voters, MPs of all parties will set aside their differences to support this important change,’ Mrs May said.