Valerie speaks in debate on extending representation in Parliament

On Thursday 27th February 2014, Valerie gave a speech on gender in the chamber.

Valerie said:

“As many Members will know, people in a number of professions—including some in Parliament—used to say things like “This is not a woman’s job”, and women were kept out of those professions. There were quotas: for instance, only a certain number of women could become doctors. It is only when women and people from different backgrounds are given opportunities that others can see just how capable we all are.”

“Let us focus on the question of positive action. It is always the case that people have to fulfil the criteria for the post. They are not the lesser candidate because there is positive action; they are of equal stature and they have fulfilled the requirements for the post. We have to look at where there is underrepresentation, and in some instances men will be given positive action. We start from the premise that everyone can do the job. Equal opportunities does not mean some will be excluded. The greatest gift of a diverse Parliament or work force is that everyone will feel included.”

The full text of Valerie’s speech is available to read from the Official Report here.