Marking the centenary of Women achieving the vote, Wera Hobhouse visited the Sixth Form this week to launch her speech-writing competition to explain ‘Why we Need More Women in Politics’. Girls across Bath are invited to expose and dispel the barriers to women entering politics by writing 500 words in a speech on the subject. The winning speech will allow its writer a day shadowing Wera in Parliament on 21st November, the very date that brought legislation 100 years ago allowing women to stand as MPs.
But Wera’s message applied not only to those who might enter the competition, or indeed enter Politics. Drawing on powerful personal experience of the effects of democracy failing, she urged girls to show commitment to our democracy. In order to protect it, she said, we must all engage with it, a call to action that was brought into sharp focus as some of our international students recounted the limitations of regimes in their home countries.
A thought-provoking discussion followed on the role of women in the wider workplace, and how politicians should respond to ever more pernicious and personal criticism at the hands of social media (the answer? ‘use critical-thinking to read through fake news!’), and girls were left with food for thought about how society must change to redress the gender balance in Politics.