It’s been 99 years since the first woman successfully stood for Parliament and in that time, 455 female MPs have been elected to the House of Commons. According to a government briefing published in December, the same number of men were elected in the current Parliament.
The last election, in May 2015, also saw a record number of women take up seats in the Commons – yet they still represent just 29% of MPs.
Who are the women who represent us in Parliament? What does it take to get elected, and then to hold onto a place in the House? Older men are dubbed ‘political titans’, while women are often dismissed as they age; how does this affect women on the political scene? In March, our WOW – Women of the World festival celebrates the powerful force of older women in politics.
Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking since 1994, joins a panel of experienced politicians and campaigners to demonstrate that a woman’s place is in the House. We asked her what she’d like to see change for women in 2017.
After a tumultuous 2016, what would you say is the impact of recent political events on women?
Women helped to elect Donald Trump – a man who shamelessly boasts of sexually assaulting women. So the progress women have made is too fragile: the challenges we face remain immense.
What would you like to see happen for women this year?
A woman leader of the Labour Party or the first female metro mayor.
What change would most help improve women's lives?
For most women, flexibility at work to life balance is the most important change they want and people should understand that life is a marathon not a sprint.