Tory MP Maria Miller demands more senior roles for women to give Government 'balance'

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The Government must address the gender imbalance in its top ranks, a Tory MP said today, after seven departments were revealed to have only male ministers.

The warning from Women and Equalities Select Committee chairwoman, Maria Miller, comes after Theresa May’s latest front bench reshuffle saw a net loss of two women.

Yesterday, MPs also voted in Robert Jenrick to replace Chloe Smith on the Conservative Party Board, meaning all three MP representatives on the group are now men. Ms Miller said: “I think it’s the fact that we don’t have a broad cross section of experience at the heart of running these important government departments that’s the issue. 

“There’s never been a female MP in the Foreign Office since the Conservatives came into government in 2010. There are areas where women MPs voices need to be heard. 

“Women MPs bring a different experience into Parliament — women do have a different experience of life, not least because they endure levels of discrimination which shapes their views and thoughts, so having their voice at the heart of government is important.”

Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office, Liam Fox’s Department for International Trade, the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Transport, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Scotland Office and the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales Office all have male secretaries of state and ministers.  

Female peers have worked for the Foreign Office, including Baroness Warsi and Baroness Anelay.

In the Prime Minister’s latest reshuffle three female ministers lost their positions, including Baroness Shields, who worked across two departments, and business minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe. Ms Smith was promoted to be Northern Ireland Minister. 

There are 16 female ministers and four Secretaries of State. 

Ms Miller said Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau had the right approach to gender balance. She said: “When he appointed half of his cabinet as women he just said ‘it’s 2016’.”

Ms Miller added: “I think this problem reflects the broader problem of encouraging more women to come into politics and for women to want to take a prominent role in politics because of the huge abuse in the media that women have endured as politicians.”


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