Women MPs in Westminster need more than a hashtag campaign to fight misogyny

Editorial / Opinion Piece / Blog Post

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November 29, 2019

Women MPs in Westminster need more than a hashtag campaign to fight misogyny

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By Ruhi Khan,

A hundred years ago, on November 28 1919, Nancy Astor was elected and became the first woman Member of Parliament to take up her seat and enter Westminster. A hundred years later, in a series of shocking revelations, more and more women MPs are quitting parliament before the general election on December 12 2019. These women are young with a bright political future, but it seems they could no longer take the  ‘horrific abuse’ and the toxic gendered culture that defines Westminster.

In 2018, the UK saw the centenary commemorations of the Representation of the People Act and of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act, that gave some elite women the right to vote and stand for elections. It was a momentous occasion and the Halls of Westminster played host to an exhibition on Vote & Voice, that charts the journey of women in Parliament.

Walking the hallowed halls of time, I realised how these early spaces of women in parliament  (named for the rather claustrophobic and restraining conditions that women faced as they began to slowly occupy the Parliament) – the Ventilator (1818-1834), the Cage (1834-1918) and the Tomb (from 1918) echo in the politico-media discourse of today through the concepts of Invisibility, Sexism and Otherness.

Click here to read the full article published by London School of Economics on 28 November 2019.

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