It has been over a century since women have earned the right to vote in the United Kingdom. Over the course of that time, more women have stepped forward into the world of politics. Below you will find three active members of parliament and the reasons behind their decision to join politics.
Heidi Allen, Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire
Before she was elected as a member of parliament, Heidi worked in business manufacturing. After coming home from work one day in 2011, Heidi and her husband were watching the news and witnessed the events of the Tottenham riots unfold.
With cities abundant with chaos, Heidi recalls being glued to the tv, questioning why her country looked like a war zone. Heidi’s husband suggested that if she wanted to see change she should run for parliament. Taking her husband’s suggestion to heart, Heidi ran for parliament and was elected in 2015 as a Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire.
Tonia Antoniazzi, Labour MP for Gower
Previously, Tonia Antoniazzi worked as the head of languages at a secondary school teaching both French and Italian. Although she was making a “decent salary”, things became difficult in 2010 during the coalition government. Recently divorced and now a single mom, Tonia found herself making cutbacks and counting every penny.
Due to a high-interest mortgage and higher pension contributions, Tonia was struggling in a one income house. Reflecting on her own situation with a good job, Tonia realized that there were others who were far worse than herself. Seeing people struggle in similar or worse situations, made her want to help. Tonia always had an interest in politics and after her speaking so passionately about her situation, her brother encouraged her to join the Labour party, and soon after she was selected to stand for the highly marginal seat of Gower in 2017.
Baroness Benjamin, Liberal Democrat peer
For anyone who grew up in the 1970s in England, you may have watched Floella Benjamin, a popular children’s TV presenter. While it is not common for a children’s presenter to transition to a career in politics, Baroness Benjamin insisted politics was in her DNA.
Since her grandfather was the deputy prime minister of Antigua and her father an advocate of workers rights, Baroness Benjamin thought it was only natural for her to follow her family’s political footsteps. Due to her time with the BBC TV programme Play School, Baroness Benjamin started campaigning and speaking up for children so that others would realize the importance of childhood.
Her activism did not go unnoticed, former leader Nick Clegg invited her to join the party and sit in the House of Lords. Over the last eight year involvement in politics, she has made many changes to policy in regards to children.