Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves MP

What’s the Future of Women in Politics?

Coleridge Series/
Thu 25 April 2019

Rachel Reeves MP

What’s the Future of Women in Politics?

Rachel Reeves
Thu 25 April 2019,

There are more women in parliament than ever. 208 women MPs were elected to the House of Commons in the General Election of 2017, a record high of 32 per cent of the total. There are 206 female peers, making up 26 per cent of Members of the House of Lords. At the same time, the process of Parliament remains antiquated: in one recent vote, an MP had to delay her caesarean-section birth to vote in a critical debate; another had the decades-old principle of pairing broken as she was on maternity leave. Female politicians continue to face attacks on social media, and in person, much more than male MPs.

100 years ago, Nancy Astor became the first woman MP to take her seat in the House of Commons. Since then, women MPs from across the political spectrum have worked passionately for political change both to policy and to the culture of Westminster, yet their achievements have all too often been overlooked. Rachel Reeves, economist and Labour MP, has recovered much of this history. She talks about the future of women in politics based on her own pioneering work and her experience as an MP. She tells the stories of the sometimes forgotten MPs who made major change happen – from campaigns for equal suffrage to the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the legalisation of abortion, equal pay, child benefit, maternity and paternity leave, and against sexual harassment.

This event is part of our annual Coleridge Series, inspired by Coleridge’s wide-ranging and radical lectures in Bristol in the 1790s.

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