To celebrate International Women’s Day, we're highlighting seven of the influential women making their mark in Parliament.
The Labour MP for Swansea East has been leading the ‘Menopause Revolution’ after putting forward the Menopause (Support and Services) Bill which improves general menopausal support through the introduction of a taskforce and reducing the costs of hormone replacement therapy for women going through menopause. She also created an APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) to tackle a lack of understanding among policymakers, businesses and the public around menopause. This was part of a long-running campaign that Carolyn had instigated with cross-party support, and included a march on Westminster Square supported by the likes of Davina McCall, Dr Louise Newson and Penny Lancaster. The changes championed by Carolyn have been hailed as ground-breaking for women.
The Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford has been making her mark chairing the fan-led Review of Football Governance, which was published in November 2021. This review followed the infamous creation and collapse of the European Super League last year that left football fans struggling to reconcile their love of the game with the ambitions and profits of their ownership. The review aimed to put the power in football back in the hands of fans after concerns that the power of the owners of the top clubs had imbalanced the game. Crouch oversaw the development of a 162-page document that represented the response to this movement and put forward several recommendations for the government to change how football is governed including an independent regulator and the redistribution of resources.
In 2021, Kim Leadbeater was elected as MP in Batley and Spen, in the same seat she and her sister, Jo Cox, grew up in. She established and served as an ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation since her sister’s death and she dedicated her maiden speech to her legacy. She has been vocal in efforts to improve MP’s safety after standing up to the abuse she faced herself on the campaign trail.
A dedicated local MP, in the 2021 New Year Honours List, she received an MBE for services to the community in Batley & Spen and combatting loneliness during the Covid-19. She is also one of a few openly LGBT Members of Parliament.
Caroline Nokes is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North and first entered the House of Commons in 2010. She has been the Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee since 2020. During her time leading this Committee, she has led on campaigns to improve women’s pay as well as increase transparency to close the gender as well as the ethnicity pay gap. She has repeatedly called for the government to diversity its cabinet and criticised it for not taking women into account across government policy. Nokes has also campaigned to improve the gender recognition process to help simplify the process for transgender people to transition.
Labour MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy is seen as a vocal and avid campaigner who regularly contributes to debates and engages with social media that holds influence across the party. She was elected on a female-only shortlist and has always been a devoted advocate for women’s issues. An experienced hand in parliament, she has been outspoken against violence against women and has called for acts of misogyny to be made part of the UK hate crime laws.
After giving birth to a daughter in November 2019, she was the UK’s first MP to have a ‘locum MP’ to provide maternity cover. She has been outspoken about the unsuitability of the role of an MP for mothers and those with families, campaigning for better parental rights for MPs balancing work and family. Following the decision to ban her bringing her baby into Parliament, she said that ‘mothers in the mother of all parliament are not to be seen or heard it seems’.
Nusrat Ghani is the Conservative MP for Wealden and was the first Muslim woman to speak from the House of Commons dispatch box. She has been crucial in highlighting Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. Earlier this year, she accused the government that her ‘Muslimness’ was raised when she was removed from a ministerial job in 2020 and told it was ‘making colleagues uncomfortable’.
In response to her allegations, the Muslim Council of Britain said the European Human Rights Commission should investigate the party. This has been part of a wider campaign by the likes of Baroness Warsi and Sajjad Karim, a former MEP, to highlight Islamophobia in the party.
Amy Callaghan was elected SNP MP for East Dunbartonshire in one of the biggest shocks in the 2019 election. She returned to the House of Commons this February after suffering a stroke in June 2020. In her rehabilitation, she had to learn to sit, stand and walk again and has been unable to make the over 400 mile trip from her constituency to Westminster. In her recovery, she has repeatedly called for Parliament to reintroduce proxy voting and participation for MPs who are unable to travel to London. She has vowed to continue the fight to reform the House of Commons ‘antiquated’ procedures.
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