International Women's Day
Last Friday it was International Women's Day, an annual event which celebrates the accomplishments of women in society, but also the challenges we face on a daily basis. It is a good opportunity to reflect back on last year, which saw 100 years since most women were granted the right to vote.
This time last year, I called for more women to stand for public office and get involved in political life. I am pleased that since then, I welcomed Georgia Harrison from Hastings to come to Parliament and see what I do as part of the #AskHertoStand event.
Amber and Georgia in Parliament
I also had the pleasure to attend the Women MPs of the World Conference which brought together female leaders from across the world. I co-chaired a panel with Barbara Rwodi who is a Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe. We discussed the best way to economically empower women, which was particularly fascinating to hear all of the different approaches from a wide range of countries.
Amber and Barbara Rwodzi MP co-chairing a summit on women's economic empowerment
We all agreed that we must pave the way for making women feel more comfortable to stand for public office and create an environment in which we can all thrive in doing so. This includes tackling the barriers that women face both in politics and in professional life.
Amber and Alisa from Hastings attending a Vote 100 exhibition in Parliament
Over the summer, I invited Alisa from Hastings up to Parliament for work experience during the Vote 100 exhibition which celebrated 100 years since many women were given the right to vote. It was great to chat with her about politics and how we need to see more women standing in positions of power.
This brings me to the theme for International Women's Day this year, which is #BalanceforBetter. We need better representation in boardrooms and here in Parliament. A major barrier which stops this from happening is the abuse women face when they rise to positions of notability.
Last week, I read out some of the shocking abuse I receive, but for many women this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can watch that here. Only by calling out this abuse can we move towards a friendlier environment in which no one feels intimidated to put themselves forward for that promotion or dive into politics.
I hope we can all work together following International Women's Day to ensure women are well balanced in our society and communities.
Amber Rudd MP
Hastings and Rye