Today marks the centenary of women winning the right to stand as Parliament.
Since then, almost 500 have been elected as MPs, compared to four and half thousand men.
The figures were the focus of a major event today to try to address gender equality on the benches of Westminster.
More than 200 MPs including Cabinet Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition and senior Liberal Democrats took part with the aim of getting more women to stand for public office.
They met with 300 women from their constituencies, who spent time with their MP in the corridors of power, seeing first-hand what it means to be a Member of Parliament.
They were invited to take part in inspirational workshops, listen to talks, Prime Minister’s Questions, and to get a full picture of an MP’s day.
MP Victoria Atkins, Minister for Women, gave her support for the #AskHerToStand Day and said:
“I am delighted that the Government is able to support this exciting initiative. One of our main aims for this centenary of women winning the right to stand for Parliament is to encourage more women to get more involved in politics. I hope that the women who take part on 21 November are inspired to take that next step.”
Frances Scott, organiser of today’s ‘Ask Her to Stand Day’, said:
“On this important democratic centenary it is heartening to see MPs taking action to inspire women to stand for political office.
“We are all saying “Women, your country needs you!”. We need women’s experience and wisdom at Westminster. Today we hope hundreds more women will be inspired to sign up to stand. What a great way to celebrate the day that women could first stand for Parliament. Let’s build a better democracy together!”
Helen Pankhurst, Convener of the Centenary Action Group, added:
“Citizens and MPs are coming together in a symbolic event, with deeds not words and this is important. It’s about collectively saying we can do so much better to improve the lack of women in parliament. And we will.”
Eleanor Cunningham has this report