Election 2010: Women in government
Article in images

Jobs for the girls


Salma Yaqoob on BBC's Question Time © Flickr/salmayaqoob
Salma Yaqoob on BBC's Question Time © Flickr/salmayaqoob
Labor MP and women’s rights campaigner Harriet Harman has long championed women’s in politics.

As elected Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, Mrs Harman is highly regarded in the political sphere and now holds the position of Leader of the House of Commons and Minister for Women, among others.

But when Harman joined parliament in 1982, she joined a 97% male majority. Since her election she has successfully introduced the first Parliamentary Labor Party Women’s Group in 1982 as well as successful women-only shortlists launched as part of the 1993 Labor Party Conference – this subsequently lead to the appointment of 101 female MPs in 1997.

MP Lynne Featherstone has held a succession of high profile roles, including chairing the Transport Committee as part of the Greater London Authority, serving on the Metropolitan Police Authority and, in 2007, becoming the Youth and Equalities Spokesperson in the Shadow Cabinet. Impressive credentials but does she feel her gender has made it more difficult to achieve her political ambitions?

"Not yet," She says, "but I’ve had a fairly meteoric rise and the only thing I would say is that I am Equalities Spokesperson and I’m not Defense Spokesperson."

The implication here is obvious. Some jobs are still reserved for her male colleagues.


Women in Focus Editor
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