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Girls & Women

Britain Makes History by Electing Record Number of Female MPs

While people across the country try to make sense of a dramatic result – one thing is clear, the rise in female MPs is reason to celebrate. There are now 207 female MPs in Britain, beating the previous record of 191 women elected in 2015. Women now make up 32% of MPs in the UK, proof of the steady march towards gender parity in parliament.

It was a thrilling night of victories for women from diverse backgrounds, across the political spectrum.

Preet Kaur Gill became Britain’s first Sikh female MP , winning the vote for Labour in Birmingham Edgbaston with a majority of 6,917.

In Battersea, former councillor Marsha de Cordova overturned a majority of 8,000 to win this traditionally Conservative seat for the Labour party.

In her victory speech Ms. De Cordova said her experience as a disabled woman motivated her decision to run for Parliament.

“As a visually-impaired person myself, I feel passionately about the rights of disabled people," she said.

“In the fifth richest country in the world, there can be no excuses for leaving behind a large number of our citizens.”

Diane Abbott held onto her seat in Hackney by winning her biggest majority ever. A Labour MP for more than 30 years, she increased her share of the vote by 11,000 despite a number of awkward interviews and an intense onslaught of negative media, that cast a shadow of racism and misogyny over the election.

Justine Greening and Amber Rudd faced fierce competition but secured the vote for the Conservatives in their respective seats of East Putney and Hastings and Rye. Still, both saw their vote share plunge. Greening’s majority fell from 10,000 to just around 1000 while Rudd held on to her seat by just 346 votes

The real Conservative success story of the night was Ruth Davidson, who has re-energised the Tories as a political force in Scotland. Under her leadership, the Conservatives gained 13 seats in Scotland, the party’s best result north of the border since 1983.  Openly gay and from a working class background, she has been described as the “Tories’ secret weapon” due to her role in helping to modernise the party. Davidson could play a crucial role as the party seeks to recalibrate after the shocking national result.

The Green Party’s Caroline Lucas held onto her seat in Brighton Pavilion, where she doubled her majority. Lucas has already reasserted her call for a progressive alliance to challenge a Conservative-led government.

The Women’s Equality Party did not secure any parliamentary seats, but their campaign helped highlight the need for all political parties to place greater emphasis on women’s rights, bringing a vital focus to the conversation.

The victories of disabled women, LGBT women, and women of colour in the 2017 election are inspiring steps towards real diversity, and a sign of what can be achieved when barriers are broken down. Now that almost a third of MPs are female, true representation in parliament is within our grasp, 200 years after women first secured the right to vote. It’s up to all of us to keep up the fight.