Just five weeks after the UK’s departure from the European Union ended her tenure as Member of European Parliament, Barbara Gibson has launched a social enterprise aimed at inspiring more women and girls to become active in politics.
Women & Girls in Politics CIC officially launched last week, in time for International Women's Day. The non-partisan non-profit organisation will provide events across the country, school programmes, training and mentorship.
The new venture was inspired by a one-off event Gibson hosted in January that included 11 speakers and was attended by more than 100 women and girls. The event’s success, and the enthusiasm of participants to do more, prompted Gibson to keep it going.
“There’s clearly a need to get more women and girls interested and active in politics,” said Gibson. “At every level of UK government, men still far outnumber women. In the House of Commons, the last election achieved its best ever gender balance, and it is still only 34% women. That means that men are running our world, making the decisions that impact the lives of women and girls, and we don’t have an equal voice.”
“It’s not just a matter of women being held back, though there is certainly some of that. Girls are less likely to study politics in school or at university. Women are less likely to join a political party, or stand as a candidate at any level. So, we aim to start with inspiration, providing speakers from all parties and none, representing a variety of levels and roles, telling their own stories of what got them involved, what issues are important to them, and what they’re doing.”
With the community interest company registered and the website now active, Gibson is actively recruiting more volunteers, members and donors to help her roll out programmes across the UK.