Our Political Advocates

We believe female MPs and MEPs are obvious role models for young girls and with this in mind we have invited all of them to make a pledge to support our work.

The following are the ones who responded to our call out;

HELEN GRANT MP

I am the Member of Parliament for Maidstone & The Weald, I’ve been married for 26 years and have two wonderful sons and a dog. I am also the first female Anglo-African Conservative MP and former Government Minister. Before entering politics I was a solicitor with my own law firm specialising in family work and employing around 30 people.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

To know I could rely on my faith to guide and protect me in seemingly impossible situations.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Aim high, work hard, and be good, kind and true to yourself and to others.

Who is your role model? Or who do you admire and why?

I hold President Barack Obama in high esteem. In his rise to the top, and during his eight years in office, he conducted himself with dignity in the face of adversity. I believe history will judge his achievements, leadership and Presidency very highly.

RACHEL REEVES MP

I am the Labour MP for Leeds West and Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, a cross-party parliamentary committee responsible for scrutinising government policy.

When I was elected in 2010 I was only the second woman to be elected as an MP for a Leeds constituency.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

Your hard work may not pay off right away, but it will at some point.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

It’s better to focus on doing a few things well, than trying to do everything. You will get a lot further.

Who is your role model? Or who do you admire and why?

We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for the contribution of a lot of great women, but Alice Bacon has to be one of my top choices. She was the first women elected as an MP for Leeds in 1945. As a minister in Labour governments she helped steer through important social reforms such as legalisation of homosexuality, the decriminalisation of abortion and the abolition of the death penalty.

TRACY BRABIN MP

I am the Labour & Co-Operative Member of Parliament for Batley & Spen and Shadow Minister for Early Years. I was an actor and writer for over 30 years before becoming an MP in 2016 following the tragic loss of Jo Cox. I was re-elected in June 2017 with an increased majority and have now become Shadow Minister for Early Years.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

That I am allowed my opinion and that I don’t need to wait for someone to give me permission to give it.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Everyone is busking it. Fake it till you make it!

Who is your role model? Or who do you admire and why?

Harriet Harman and Michelle Obama

KERRY McCARTHY MP

I am one of four Vegan MP’s in Parliament, where I work to represent the people of Bristol East through debates, campaigning, lobbying and meeting all kinds of different people.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

When I was 16 I thought I had to do everything perfectly straightway, but now I know it’s sometimes better to take some time and that setbacks aren’t always a bad thing.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Barbara Castle once told me that you have to turn every disadvantage that you have into an advantage. I’m not sure if she was referring to the fact that we’re both short!

Who is your role model? Or who do you admire and why?

My five sisters are my role models! They all live very different lives to me and have done amazing jobs maintaining work, community activism and family life. I have great nieces and nephews!

RUTH CADBURY MP

I am a proud mum to my two boys and for the past 2 years, I have had the pleasure of serving my home constituency of Brentford and Isleworth as the Labour Member of Parliament. Prior to this, I was a Brentford Councillor for 25 years and was the Deputy Leader of the London Borough of Hounslow Council from 2010 to 2012.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

That the biggest dreams, no matter what they are, can be accomplished through even the toughest of circumstances. Never be afraid to ask for help or guidance as there will always be someone there to support you.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

You don’t have to be or do who or what people think you should. Be confident about who you are and what you believe in, because you are unique and your actions can make all the difference in the world.

Who is your role model? Or who do you admire and why?

Barbara Castle, Member of Parliament for Blackburn, later known as the Baroness Castle of Blackburn. She lived and breathed socialist values from such a young age and was a force to be reckoned with in the Political arena, when there were still very few female MP’s. She fought fiercely for the Anti-Apartheid movement and is the reason that we now have seat belts and breathalyzers! She showed the impact that a woman could have and became one of the most respected and longest running female MP’s that there have been.

NICKY MORGAN MP

I’m the MP for Loughborough, a former Cabinet Minister and now Chair of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee. Before I became an MP I was a solicitor. I’m also a wife, mum, daughter, sister and friend!

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

That I should take time to enjoy life a bit more and not rush growing up.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Never give up – keep on keeping on – remember the tale of the tortoise and the hare

Who is your role model? Or who do you admire and why?

I had the privilege of meeting Michelle Obama who was brilliant – but I’m full of admiration for women everywhere who deal with all that life throws at them

LUCY POWELL MP

I am the Labour and Cooperative MP for Manchester Central and Shadow Secretary of State for Education.  I was elected in a by-election on November 15th 2012 and was the first female Labour MP to represent a Manchester constituency.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

That one day I would be an MP!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

There is a phrase which my mum used a lot which is ‘ those who do nowt, do nowt wrong’ and I think this is perfect advice – both for politics and for life in general.  It’s really important not to be afraid to make mistakes in life.

Who is your role model?  Or who do you admire and why?

I was always inspired by the legacies of female Labour MPs who have made a difference like Mo Mowlam.  Mo is somebody who really inspired me early in my political career by being a principled and determined woman who was able to have a massive impact on UK politics and left a legacy in her work on the Northern Ireland peace process.

LUCIANA BERGER MP

I am the Labour Member of Parliament of Liverpool Wavertree and the Shadow Minsiter for Energy & Climate Change.

What were your career aspirations at 15?

I wanted to be a Police Woman.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

That you can achieve anything if you focus and work really hard.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Don’t ever give up.

Who is your role model?  Or who do you admire and why?

Harriet Harman – One of the women MP’s who really has done so much for women’s representation.

JUDE KIRTON-DARLING MEP

I am the Labour Member of the European Parliament representing the North East of England.  Originally from Middlesbrough, I spent 15 years fighting for rights in the Trade Union movement.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

That even if something goes wrong in work or personal life, that there is always a way to turn a negative into a positive  Don’t give up.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

From my gran – never pass a toilet, you never know when you’ll see the next one! has served me well on many occasions, especially when campaigning!

Who is your role model?  Or who do you admire and why?

My mum. She was a constant but quiet fighter for social justice.  She knew poverty first hand and brought me up to always fight for justice.

THERESA GRIFFIN MEP

I am the Labour Member of the European Parliament for the North West of England: Industry, Research and Energy & Transport and Tourism Committees.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

That it is totally alright to take risks and to fail. Failures often lead to future successes.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

The most important people in any building are the caretaker and the cleaner.

Who is your role model?  Or who do you admire and why?

All women juggling caring for others.

HELEN GOODMAN MP

I am the Labour Member of Parliament for Bishop Auckland in Co. Durham.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

Girls are better than they think they are .

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Put your energy into doing things, not worrying.

Who is your role model?  Or who do you admire and why?

Angela Merkel, German Prime Minister – she does the job and doesn’t worry about her looks.

MELANIE ONN MP

I am the Labour Member of Parliament for my hometown of Great Grimsby. It’s a huge privilege to serve the place where you’re raised, there are so many people that I went to school with or have worked with that I now represent. I left the area to go to University, but I want to help my town offer opportunities locally so people don’t feel they have to leave to get on in life.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

I’m not always right and there is always more to learn. That means listening to other people and not just lecturing them. But I also wish I was a bit less polite, as it has stopped me speaking out when I should have done, for fear of upsetting people. Now I know if you just accept the status quo, nothing will ever change or get better.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Always be nice to those you meet on your way up as you never know when you’ll meet them on the way down. Politics for individuals can be very unpredictable – you never know when you might lose your seat, or worse! It’s best to have as many friends around as possible who can support you.

Who is your role model?  Or who do you admire and why?

The family I had round me when I was little was very matriarchal. So everyone from my mum and nan to my great aunt had influence on me. Each of them live (although my great aunt passed away a few years ago) their lives they want to. Not always in the traditional way. But then, not conforming isn’t always a bad thing.

CATHERINE STIHLER MEP

I am a Scottish Labour Member of the European Parliament, serving as Vice-Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee.  As part of this committee, I work to make legislation better for consumers at home and abroad.

What do you wish that you had known at 16 that you know for sure today?

If there’s anything I’d like to have told my 16 year old self, it would be that I should have self-confidence, value myself and my work, that there is no such thing as a stupid question, and most importantly, to always fight for what you believe in.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Try, try, try again! Never give up!

Who is your role model?  Or who do you admire and why?

I would have to say my grandmother, Catherine (Cathy) Sanders.  She never let things bring her down and she always tried her best.  At 13 she was forced to leave school to support her family.  To my grandmother, education symbolised the the road to emancipation, and she instilled this in me, something I am ever grateful for.