Luke Pollard MP Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
Amber Evans was chosen to shadow Luke Pollard MP around the corridors of power today as part of a massive event aimed at encouraging more women to stand for election.
The initiative, saw more than 250 inspiring women from all parts of the country descend on Westminster to highlight the need for more women in politics. Today only one in three politicians are women.
On 21 November 1918, just days after the Armistice, the Qualification of Women Act was passed to allow women to stand for Parliament for the first time. Today’s shadowing event is a celebration of this Act and a call for more women to come forward.
Since then just we have only had 491 women MPs compared to 4503 men. At this rate it will take another half century before women catch up.
Today’s ‘Ask Her To Stand’ event was aimed at closing the gap. To be truly representative Parliament should reflect the people it serves and at the moment it doesn’t. Laws and regulations will never properly reflect the needs or diversity of our country and communities until the numbers are evened up.
The day was organised by campaigners Frances Scott, 50:50 Parliament, Helen Pankhurst and the Centenary Action Group, the Fawcett Society and the Jo Cox Foundation.
The women spent time shadowing their MP and seeing first-hand what it means to be a Member of Parliament. They were invited to take part in workshops and listen to talks and Prime Minister’s Questions and to get a full picture of what it means to stand for political office.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“Plymouth, the constituency I represent, elected the first woman to take her seat in Parliament. But since that day, not nearly enough women have been elected. We need more women to stand for public office. At all levels in politics from the grass roots to Westminster we have two men for every one woman. I hope today inspires great women such as Amber to stand for election to give us all broader and more representative decision making.”
Amber Evans said:
“Shadowing Luke today has been an enlightening look into the influential work that goes on here and how parliament operates. I came today not knowing if I would stand, but am leaving now with all the tools to take the first steps and truly inspired by the many people I have met.
A huge thank you to Luke for inviting me to join him today, transgender women are often overlooked and I am proud to represent my community here today.”
Frances Scott, Director of 50:50 Parliament who organised the day was delighted with the turnout. She said:
“On the centenary of when women were first ever able to stand it is wonderful that so many MPs participated in our #AskHerToStand day by inviting a woman to Parliament. It is a clear demonstration that Westminster does welcome women”.