100 years ago, Nancy Astor, the first woman who took her seat in the UK Parliament, opened the door for women to enter the political scene. Since, there is much for women to celebrate. On behalf of Women 2 Win and the Conservative Friends of Eurasia, Ms Bota Hopkinson and her son Max, co-founders of Conservative friends of Eurasia welcomed all participants who joined us at this celebration of International Women’s Day, in London.
Invited to celebrate women in politics were Distinguished guests Baroness Jenkin, Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister for Women and Equalities, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Parliamentarians, Ladies, Gentlemen, and friends of the UK and Eurasia as well local business women. Together, this impressive crowd stood to represent 1,6 billion women from 29 countries.
“We need more women in politics. Asking women to stand has culminated in a substantial increase in the number of women starting their journeys towards public life, probably in all political parties but certainly for us in the Conservative Party, where I understand that between 400 and 500 additional women are now in the pipeline.” Baroness Anne Jenkin of Kennington – As the Co-Chair, Anne co-founded Women2Win with Prime Minister Theresa May in 2005. Anne was made a life peer in January 2011 and has continued to work tirelessly to promote women in Parliament and public life. Anne has been instrumental in heading the campaign for greater female representation in Parliament
In the opening speech
Ms. Bota Hopkinson said: “Sitting beside you are people who had extraordinary journeys to be here tonight. Whether you’re born in Central Asia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, the Ivory Coast, Israel or the UK, you came here tonight because women matter to you. Do you know that in this very room, together we represent over 1.6 billion women from 29 countries? It was women just like you and me who stood up a century ago gave us the right to vote. So what has happened since? For the second time in our country, the Prime Minister is a woman!
This is progress! According the UN latest reports, we need 217 years to close the pay gap between men and women. What are we going to do about it?
The time has come for us to find solutions to the challenges that we don’t even talk about. It was 14 years ago when Baroness Jenkin and Theresa May had planted the seed of Women 2 Win, now we can see the fruits.
There are more women in politics now than ever before. I am one of fruits of their vision and now I am standing before you tonight in gratitude.
Little I knew that the day when I lost my husband, unborn child and one kidney it wasn’t the end of my life as I thought but the beginning of a new me.
I am standing in front of you stronger than I ever thought I could be, because Baroness Jenkin and Theresa May believed in me.
What makes me strong is that I know I live in a great country, Great Britain. Do you think that it is your turn to start paying forward? I do. Despite all uncertainty, when we come together, we can build a better reality. Because change starts with each of you.
The way you look at yourself is the way you see others. Teaching women their true worth is the biggest challenge of humanity.”
Engaging women of minority backgrounds to the political scene
Helen Grant MP spoke about engaging women of minority backgrounds to the political scene. Helen was first elected to represent the Parliamentary Constituency of Maidstone & The Weald on 5th May 2010 after spending two and a half years campaigning for the role as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate. She has since been returned as the MP in the general elections of May 2015 and June 2017 with ever growing local support.
In January 2018 Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Helen Conservative Party Vice Chairman for Communities. It is a role that takes her nationwide as a party ambassador; engaging with ethnically diverse, disabled, disadvantaged and LGBT+ groups; listening, acting on concerns and suggestions, and feeding back to the Party and to Government.
In her heartfelt speech Ms Grant said: “We must continue to provide more opportunities for women with aspiration and seek true balance in gender equality – because when courageous women join with enlightened men, there is little that cannot be achieved.” Helen Grant MP