International Women’s Day: London Assembly Members
The theme for this year's International Women's Day is #BeBoldForChange. We spoke to some of our Assembly Members to find out what this meant to them.
I’d tell a young woman who wanted to get into politics to surround herself with supporters. If you hear ‘No you can’t do that’, you say ‘Yes, I can!’. You say ‘With the help of my supporters I'm going to find out whether that is the case’.
I was firstly inspired by my mom because her love gave me the courage to be who I am. Then there’s Nawal El Saadawi, the Egyptian feminist writer and activist. Read one of her 50 books and you’ll be inspired. She inspired me join the campaign to end female genital mutilation (FGM).
I was always encouraged and promoted by other women in politics, which helped me so much. So I would tell a young woman interested in a political career to ‘get in touch and ask me (or someone else) for advice and support’.
I’m inspired by Caroline Lucas MP. She is unbelievably hard working and good at her job in Parliament. I dream of being more like her here.
My advice would be to get involved in local groups. Small starts can lead to big change.
My inspiration comes from Julia Davenport of Good Energy. Also Anita Roddick - businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner - who set up the Body Shop in 1976 and almost single-handedly invented ethical consumerism. No animal testing of products, purchased on a fair-trade basis around the world, originally refilled the bottles – what’s not to like? Inspirational.
If I was advising a young woman who wanted to get into politics, I’d tell them not to accept the status quo. Don’t be intimidated and never give up.
I was inspired by Shirley Williams. She had a bold and brave career in the House of Commons and Lords. When she started out, women were rare in politics, but she set an example and led the way for future generations. I have also personally found her incredibly supportive. She gives politics a good name.
I’d offer these words of advice to any young woman thinking about a political career:
Work hard, trust your instincts, and always make time to be kind.
If I was to pick one inspiring woman, it would be my friend Monica Ross. Her performance work, Anniversary - an Act of Memory, is a recitation, from memory, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It becomes more meaningful with each passing day. Monica lived and breathed politics and knew how fragile and vital our hard fought freedoms are.
If I was talking to a young woman looking to get into public office, I’d say don’t wait for someone to suggest you do it. Just because someone hasn’t told you it would be a good idea, it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be good at it. Too many women take themselves out of opportunities that they deserve.
I’m inspired by the (countless) women encouraging each other to achieve their potential even when the odds are against them.
You can find out more about International Women's Day and how you can get involved at www.internationalwomensday.com.