Women in Parliament event - March 2009

Students and politicians met in Parliament to explore ways of increasing the number of women in politics. The event was linked to the Speaker's Conference, a special committee considering diversity in the House of Commons.

Female representation in Parliament

A group of (mostly) female MPs met with 150 girls from London schools on Thursday 19 March 2009 to discuss the disparity between the representation of women in the House of Commons and the UK population at large.

Female representation in Parliament is one of the issues being considered by the Speaker's Conference, a special committee set up by the House of Commons in November 2008.

Students quiz MPs

In the opening remarks Anne Begg MP and the Lord Speaker Baroness Hayman reflected on their experiences and observations as women in what has traditionally been a male-dominated environment.

Following group discussions about the issues around diversity in politics, students had the chance to quiz a panel of MPs in a question and answer session chaired by Today programme presenter Sarah Montague.

What they discussed...

 The wide-ranging discussion explored MPs' experiences, current barriers to female representation and possibilities for future change. A few of the discussion points included: the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in politics, the electoral system and influence of political parties, the role of the media and sexism in politics and society.

Along with Anne Begg, MPs on the panel included Julie Kirkbride, Betty Williams, Fiona Mactaggart and - providing a male perspective - Jeremy Corbyn.

Written evidence

Recommendations and observations from the event will be presented to the Speaker's Conference as written evidence.


Find out more 


Booking and enquiries

Education Service
Houses of Parliament
London SW1A 2TT
020 7219 4496

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