It's still a big deal for women to stand for election and that needs to change, says Emily Thornberry

'It shouldn't be a big deal for women to stand for election, but it is and needs to change', says Emily Thornberry

Emily Thornberry says equality work must continue

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Even 100 years after women got the vote, we still need to get to a stage where it's not a big deal for women to stand for election, Emily Thornberry has said.

February 6 marked the 100-year anniversary of the Government allowing women aged 30 or over who had a university education or property to vote. However, even today only one in three MPs are female.  

Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, told Eamonn Holmes that the day "does feel special - actually I think it’s really good to have a day in which we mark a big achievement, but it also gives us a chance to think about how far we’ve got to go."

She believes now we need to "get to a stage where people don’t think it’s a big deal for you to be a woman that’s standing."

The MP said she first noticed inequality when she was in a church choir as a child and saw boys get paid more than her, and it's still a major issue now.

Turning to the example of carers, she said "it must be one of the most important jobs in the world to look after a four-year old child, or someone with dementia. And yet we get away with paying them as little as we possibly can."

Thornberry also wants to live "in a world where people have free choice," for example "if a man has a baby he is able to take time off" without feeling eccentric or for people to "give up work myself" to look after their mother is she's ill.

She revealed when she became pregnant she told her Irish grandmother "and instead of saying congratulations or anything else all she said is 'never stop working'".

Some have called for the Government to pardon suffragettes and Thornberry said "I don’t think that we should apologise for suffragettes" but "I think maybe the state has something to apologise to them for."

This is because "they weren’t given a chance to do anything other than to take to the streets... we should never have put women into that position."

Listen to the full interview above