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Prime Minister encourages young women to get into politics at 'Courage Calls' event

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Thursday, 19th July 2018

Prime Minister encourages young women to get into politics at 'Courage Calls' event

Prime Minister Theresa May has met with a number of young women, aged 14-18, as part of a day focused on encouraging women to stand for Parliament

Inviting them into Parliament after weekly Prime Minister's Questions, she discussed their ambitions for a future in politics and public life.

The 'Courage Calls: Ask Her to Stand' day of events was jointly organised by leading gender equality campaigning charity, the Fawcett Society, and 50:50 Parliament and funded by the government.

The day saw over 100 school children from three London schools attend workshops in the afternoon, and a further 400 women attend the oversubscribed evening sessions.

The unprecedented interest in this event highlights the appetite among women for a political career at a time where women still make up just a third of MPs in the House of Commons.

In 100 years since women won the right to vote, only 491 have gained seats in the Commons, versus 4,503 men.

Courage Calls: Ask Her to Stand was focused on supporting women to overcome the many barriers they face when pursuing a career in politics. It also helped provide attendees with practical information and networking opportunities.

There was also an opportunity to hear from leading women in politics and a cross-party panel session.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: 'As we mark 100 years since some women achieved the vote in Britain, we should remember the women who got us here and the debt we owe them.

'The best way we can do that is by ensuring that we encourage more women to come into public life. Women make up half the population of this country, yet only a third of MPs.

'This year's centenary is an opportunity to remember the women who risked everything for the rights we have today as well as a time to look at what more we must do to create a fairer society that works for everyone.'

Sam Smethers, Fawcett Chief Executive, said: 'it is essential for young women to see other women at the top of our politics and public life. 

'We want them to leave with the message – 'this could be you' – because they are the future.'

Frances Scott from 50:50 Parliament said: 'At 50:50 we have a clear mission – we want women to have equal seats and equal say, and for men and women to run the country and plan the future together in equal numbers.

'Seeing so many women excited and engaged in politics at today's events reinforces our belief that this is achievable with the right support.'

For more information of Fawcett and their recently published Sex and Power Index report, please visit their website.