A woman's place is in politics: An International Women's Day Debate
On the heels of the flourishing global movement for women’s rights and in the centenary year of women’s suffrage here in the UK, comes this year’s Royal Over-Seas League’s International Women’s Day debate where speakers will be examining the rise of activism, the impact of women on government policies and the problems facing women pursuing a career in politics.
Guest speakers Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, Akeela Ahmed, organiser of the London Women’s March and Helen Pankhurst, descendant of the famous suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst will lead the discussions examining the rise of activism, the impact of women on government policies and the problems facing women pursuing a career in politics.
Echoing the United Nations International Women’s Day theme, the evening will examine political participation in the form of activism and voters. Whilst only 60% of women turned out in the 2017 General Election compared to 65% of men, young women are increasingly becoming more involved with politics through marches, demonstrations and campaigns. This change of political participation has created a global movement which could bring about an exciting future for women. However, it also raises questions as to why women felt taking the street was more successful than taking to the polling station to vote for the traditional political parties?
As the UK celebrates a hundred years since the first women were given the right to vote, women involved in politics still face an up hill battle. The monumental movement of the #MeToo social media campaign revealed the prevalance of sexual harassment in government. This combined with problems such as the lack of vital benefits such as child care and anti-social debating hours all discourage women from pursuing a career in politics. Yet even women who have persisted in their career, achieving top tier positions such as Prime Minister are faced with petty and cruel personal attacks on appearance rather than policy.
The Royal Over-Seas League is proud to host this vital discussion; our organisation has a long egalitarian tradition, by admitting women as of right since 1910. Today half our members are women, and we have appointed of our first female Director-General Dr Diana Owen.
We believe this exciting event will be a positive conversation on what women have done, are still doing and will continue to do about making their voice heard in politics.
Please note that Helen Pankhurst will also be signing copies of her latest book Deeds not words at the end of the event.
- Sophie Walker; leader of the Women's Equality Party
- Helen Pankhurst; author of Deeds Not Words, and descendant of Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst
- Akeela Ahmed; political activist and organiser of the London Women's March
- Deeba Syed; our chair for the evening, part of the Jo Cox Women in Leadership programme