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Women in politics: We speak to women in Whitehall

Women in politics: We speak to women in Whitehall


Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport

Caroline Dinenage
Caroline Dinenage
Conservative MP Caroline Dinenage is anxious to dispel the idea that the door into politics was opened by her father, longstanding television news anchor Ferd Dinenage. Yes, she admits, it helped having a famous surname but she insists she hasn’t ridden on his coattails.

“I earned my spurs by working for six years on the local council. Had I pitched up one day saying I’m Ferd’s daughter and I want to be an MP, I don’t think people would have taken to that kindly.”

Working in politics is, Dinenage believes, a career that suits the female skillset well. Contrary to common perceptions, it’s not just about tub-thumping in the debating chamber. “So many of the skills that women possess like empathy, communication skills, the ability to multi-task and finding solutions to problems are skills that you need as an MP every day of your life.”

Despite the increase in the number of women working in politics, there are still “nowhere near enough” female MPs, Dinenage says. But women –only shortlists are not the way forward, she insists.

“In my party women have got there under their own steam. We got the post because we’re the best person for the job. Women-only shortlists send out the wrong message - that we’re not capable of competing with the guys when actually we are”.


Women in Focus Editor
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