By Dolly Theis
oday, 21st November 2021, marks 103 years since women won the right to stand for election, thanks to the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act of 1918.
Thanks to the sacrifices made by so many women over a hundred years ago, women now decide how things in this country work alongside the men. Whether that's about how business should be regulated, how education should be funded, how discrimination is reduced or what should be done about climate change. Decisions made by MPs affect all our lives in more ways than we might imagine.
“If we continue increasing the numbers at the same rate as we have been in the last few elections, then it will take another 50 years before women share power with men equally in this country”
Now take a moment to think of the things that affect you in your life. Think of all the things that make you angry, excited, inspired, frustrated, sad about the way the world works. What are they? What do you think needs to happen? What would you do differently?
If these questions get your mind racing and you find yourself questioning how things work and thinking about possible solutions. If you feel you could make a positive change on even just one thing, then you should definitely think about becoming an MP. Because that's what it's about. Representing people, fixing problems, deciding how the country should be run, and making things better.
Despite the fact that women have been able to stand for election for 103 years, it sadly does not mean that it's now as easy for women to get elected as it is for men. Women still face various disproportionate barriers, which is why women remain underrepresented in Parliament as a whole.
Women make up 34% of MPs. If we continue increasing the numbers at the same rate as we have been in the last few elections, then it will take another 50 years before women share power with men equally in this country. That, my friends, is simply too slow.
One of the major barriers is that women are not asked as much as men to consider politics, which starts from a young age. Women are socialised to become political leaders less so than men. Research also shows that even when women are asked, they need to be asked three times before considering it seriously.
That is why we launched the 50:50 Parliament #AskHerToStand campaign in 2017. We are a cross-party campaign that helps women get selected and elected.
In 2017, we got our first women elected to Parliament and we have not stopped since. And that is why today I am asking you all to consider standing. You don't need to know anything about how the process works and you don’t even need to be actively part of a political party (although great if you are already involved!).
All you need to do is sign up to www.5050parliament.co.uk/signuptostand and we will help you explore what it takes to become an MP. Maybe one day you'll be making the change you want to see happen…
Why Dolly Theis, co-founder of 50:50 Parliament #AskHerToStand, is asking YOU to stand today
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