Robin Walker welcomes two female constituents to Parliament for #AskHerToStand event

Robin Walker MP last week invited two outstanding female constituents down to Westminster to encourage them to stand for political office.

Worcester women Nida Hassan and Rabyia Baig were chosen to shadow Robin around the corridors of power as part of a major event aimed at encouraging more women to stand for election.

The initiative #AskHerToStand, saw more than 250 inspiring women descend on Westminster from all parts of the country, invited by their local Members of Parliament to highlight the need for more women in politics.

On the 21st of November 1918, mere days after the Armistice, the Qualification of Women Act was passed, allowing – for the first time – women to stand as a Member of Parliament. Last week’s event was a celebration of the centenary of this historic Act, and a national call for more women to come forward to stand in local and national politics.

Though, at this time, women could only vote if they were over the age of 30 and met certain property qualifications, there were no such restrictions about women becoming MPs, meaning they could be elected from the age of 21, the same as for men.

Since then, the United Kingdom has only elected 491 female MPs compared to 4503 male MPs, however last year’s election saw a record number of women elected to Parliament – 208.

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.

Ms Hassan and Ms Baig spent time with Robin discussing first-hand key contemporary political issues with the MP, sitting in on debates in the Commons Chamber and touring the Palace of Westminster.  The delegates were also invited to take part in various workshops with Members, listen to talks and discussions, and to observe what it means to stand for political office.

Speaking of the event, Robin Walker MP said:

“It was a pleasure to be able to invite Nida and Rabyia down to Westminster for the day for this great event. I know both women well, and have always encouraged them to stand in either a local or a national political capacity.”

“I want to see the proportion of public appointments going to women increase, not just in Parliament or local government, but right across the board and I believe in order to do this, we must tackle the root cause of the problem effectively.”

“I welcome the £1.5 million fund which is being awarded this year to mark the centenary of the Qualification of Women Act, and initiatives such as Women2Win and #AskHerToStand are working very hard to encourage and to select more women, by providing support and advice to women like Nida and Rabyia, who have political ambitions and who I sincerely hope have been inspired to stand for election.”

“As the only political party to have had a female Prime Minister, let alone two, I can assure my constituents that the Conservative Party has always been, and remains, the party for women.”

Nida Hassan, one of the women invited down to Parliament, said:

“I felt so lucky to be invited down to Parliament to take part in such an historic event. I found the entire day to be very inspirational- the women I met, the beauty of Westminster- however, the real inspiration was my MP Robin Walker. Robin has always supported me and helped me believe in myself and my potential. It truly is an honour to have him as Worcester’s MP who is always encouraging and championing his constituents.”

Frances Scott, Director of 50:50 Parliament and the organiser of the event, said:

“On the centenary of when women were first 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.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

50:50 Parliament campaigns for a better gender balance in Parliament. Find out more at

https://5050parliament.co.uk

The Centenary Action Group was convened by Helen Pankhurst as a cross party campaigning coalition

representing over 100 activists, politicians and women’s rights organisations. See

www.centenaryaction.org.uk

For more info about the event contact debhermer@gmail.com