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;

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 MEP

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.

KIRSTEN OSWALD MP

I am the MP for East Renfrewshire, and I am the SNP shadow spokesperson for Armed Forces and Veterans. I was elected in May 2015. I see my role as working hard for every single person in my constituency, to represent them, to make their voices heard, and to push for improvements to benefit them.

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

That people are just people. Nobody is better than anyone else. We can all contribute, and we can all have a voice.  I wish I’d had the confidence in that when I was 16.

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

Have the courage of your convictions. Follow your own conscience, even if it’s not the popular route. If it’s what you believe, go for it.

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

I don’t think I have a role model, although my own Mum is a great influence on me, and she’s always been really clear that my sister and I should have the confidence to do whatever we want and she’d be right behind us. It’s great to have someone on your side and we need to remember to look out for one another.