“if Chole Can” with Esther McVey MP for Wirral West

PRESS RELEASE
http://www.wpradio.co.uk
Women’s Parliamentary Radio

For immediate release

December 2nd 2010
“IF Chole Can” – Iain Duncan Smith MP and Esther McVey MP tell http://www.wpradio.co.uk how your girls need positive role models for successful careers

At the launch of “If Chole Can” an inspirational careers “bookazine” aimed at 11-13 year olds on Merseyside, and written by Esther McVey Conservative MP for the Wirral West, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP founder of the Centre for Social Justice, told Boni Sones OBE, Executive Producer of Women’s Parliamentary Radio that young women needed new role models to help them form successful careers.

Mr Duncan Smith MP said: “I think it is an excellent idea. I have two daughters I hope they will be able to go on and achieve in their own right, this helps people like them realise others have gone before them and also it is a chance for people who don’t have a supportive family like mine do to read this and realise they are just as good as anybody else. They can go on to achieve and that is one of the big problems to get young girls born into a broken home and difficulties to get a sense of self worth and self esteem that values them as human beings rather than as the goods and chattels of somebody else.

“What I am trying to do is help change society so that young woman at the bottom of society in the most difficult circumstances can go out and get work and achieve and do what they can do rather than think they are nothing other than just a sex object for some violent man and changing that is critical. That is what we are trying to do with our reforms that we are bringing through and the career path and the magazine and Esther’s magazine is in the middle of that showing them that they can do that.”

”If Chloe Can” will be distributed free across Merseyside and then will be launched nationally too, and will address what is perceived to be a lack of “visible and professional” role models for girls. On Merseyside, girls are double the national average to claim benefits and half the national average to set up in business.
The book is comprised of a wide variety of female ‘firsts’ who have all been high achievers in their respective fields. All have overcome difficulties and hardships to become the best in the world; their talents and expertise range from; science to finance, law to politics, fashion and arts.

Mr Duncan Smith went on to tell http://www.wpradio.co.uk that girls were too often told they should try to attain “instantaneous” celebrity rather than taught how to build “sustainable” careers:
“The magazine features role models who have achieved tangible things often never heard of, often quiet but actually they are the key. There is a tendency for most girls magazines to feature nothing but instantaneous celebrity and that is not very healthy because you want sustainable futures for these girls. You want them to go on and do anything but on the basis of what they have achieved and that changes lives.

“It’s about figuring out what works and making sure that girls who would never have had that chance can recognise how to achieve it and that others have achieved in more difficult circumstances than themselves. People go on to achieve great things and they will realise they have just as much going for them as everybody else and that is key. “

Esther McVey MP told http://www.wpradio.co.uk: “I was concerned about the alarming job stats to come out of Merseyside because girls didn’t have role models so I set about collecting the stories of friends and others I thought were inspirational. Every lady I approached said I will do that because we have messages and stories to tell. You maybe issued a bad set of cards to play with but it is what you do and how you overcome it, and nothing good comes easy you have to keep going. People are told things are going to be so easy and they aren’t.

“I wanted to be an MP to address unfairness and that is really my motivational force and that is across the board. From Merseyside we want to extend it right across the UK and “If Chloe can” anyone can. There are tips on how people achieved and what they did and you can see how much time and hard work went into it, it is realistic expectations.”

The http://www.wpradio.co.uk round table debate also spoke to: Debbie Moore – First Female to set up a PLC Pineapple; Lucinda Ellery – Inspirational Businesswoman; Rona Cant – Adventurer; Gillian McDonald – First UK Female Whisky Distiller; Lisa Pover – Cabbie turned Yachtsman and founder of the Lisa Pover Charitable Trust; Louise Greenhalgh – First UK Female Bomb Disposal Officer in Afghanistan.

The RT Hon John Hayes MP – Minister for State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning also told http://www.wpradio.co.uk that girls careers will be top of his agenda:
“Esther is a great role model a great example of what women can do, she has fought a very hard battle to elevate the role of women and the potential of women and to help us realise that. I want to borrow from that understanding and enthuse our policy agenda with that potential and I want to challenge our preconceived ideas about careers and learning for women.

“There will be more apprenticeships for women, better advice and guidance for women and a clearer pathway in schools that helps them to fulfil their potential. This book is a great step and all credit to Esther McVey.“

Mr Duncan Smith MP went on to say that many other careers were available for women to pursue if only they were told about them:
“X Factor is entertainment, but too often now the only way women are portrayed is in instantaneous celebrity and there are now women in substantial careers stock-broking, engineers, women fighter pilots, women diffusing bombs, these are substantial careers you have probably never heard of. Celebrity is fine but it is only a tiny bit of what women should aspire to and all these other things are worth a huge amount to families and the state.”

He said too often the media commented on what women wore not what they did:
“I wish the media would get it sorted out they comment constantly on what women MPs wear, but there are plenty of men that wander round in the same suit or tie they wore three days running, men get away quite lightly, women get here because they have real belief like Esther, they should have real respect. I tell my daughters you are better than any man you can achieve what you want to achieve, if you put your heart to it and I will back you and I tell my sons too, we know how to argue robustly. “

Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show that in May 2010 we had our highest audience ever with 3,913 visitors, there were over 1,000 more visitors in June and July too compared to last year and even August increased. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content.

2. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item. We have doubled our audience in a year. In July we published our Top Ten podcasts for that month. The top 8 all had over 100 downloads per podcast. Shirley Williams is hugely popular with 777 listeners to one podcast! The Oona King diaries are proving popular too.

3. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

4. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

5. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

6. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.
End.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone talks to www.wpradio.co.uk

PRESS RELEASE
http://www.wpradio.co.uk
Women’s Parliamentary Radio

For immediate release
November 19th 2010
Two women at the top

Lynne Featherstone MP for Hornsey and Wood Green is the new Equalities Minister. Alongside Theresa May MP the Home Secretary and Minister for Women & Equalities she will be spearheading the coalition government’s equalities plans.

Lynne “loves” coalition government, thinks “thrashing out” compromises is a good way to work and says she’s looking forward to implementing the Labour government’s Equalities Act, which she says is a “three party” success story.

She’s pledged to narrow the gender pay gap and wants all teenagers to see the film “Made in Dagenham”. Lynne and Theresa are busy progressing their own equalities agenda including flexible working, a Transgender Action Plan, kite marking air-brushing in magazines, more women in the Boardrooms, and moving the civil partnership agenda forward.

NB: This interview was conducted before the government announced it will drop Labour’s proposed new socio-economic Equality law duty requiring councils to tackle social deprivation.

Lynne told Boni Sones OBE our Executive Producer:
• “Firstly I am living proof miracles do happen, I had never thought of being a government minister in the way that this had happened. The Liberal Democrats were not necessarily starred to go straight to government. But opportunity has knocked.”

• “I love coalition – two heads are always better than one and interestingly, the Equality Act which I am commencing, it was a Labour Bill, but both the opposition parties supported it. I did put down so many amendments on women’s issues, particularly on pay, which Labour didn’t accept. The Bill is going ahead, nine-tenths is already commenced and the outstanding issues are coming on stream, they were not all timetabled to start at the same moment. The clauses on positive action, goods and services, old people, dual discrimination are being worked out with business too. You could say it was a three party success. “

• “I thought “Made in Dagenham” was a brilliant film! I think children of 12 young girls and boys should see it, it shouldn’t have an adult rating because it is such a significant part of our social history and made that huge differential step hat led to the Equal Pay Act. Now forty years later I am trying to deliver what those women started, and it’s a fight still. We are moving the agenda forward, such as the removal of gagging clauses, and how the gender pay reporting parts of the Bill are going to work the voluntary side. We are progressing women on Boards, it’s still a pitiful seven per cent, and we’re looking a how we can break down those barriers for women at all levels including the psychological ones.”

• “There is no rowing back, it may not be the way envisaged by the previous government, but there is no doubt that Theresa May and myself are committed to the agenda of narrowing the pay gap, and flexible working for all. These are measures that will change things quite substantially. Requesting flexible working often labels you as a woman but flexible working will help men too who have children and caring responsibilities. It should be the norm and best business practice because the best businesses do it already because it increases their bottom line. “

• “Theresa and I are very different women, I’m Liberal Democrat and she’s Conservative, you just look at us and you know that, but we are both absolutely committed to the cause. We do have very vibrant differences of how we want to get there, but it is just like in the real world you have to thrash it out between you and you work out the best way possible and with the sum of two you get the better methodology. We have to work it out, but right across government, there are loads of disagreements all the time, it is proper government because they have to be discussed out in the open with officials. They are hard fought for thought through policies in a way we haven’t seen in a long time, I think it is a better form of government.”

• “I am very proud to push the LBG and T agenda forward. We are the first government ever to be publishing a Transgender Action Plan for equalities rights. That will come next year and they are probably the most marginalised groups. It was fantastic to go on the gay pride march, I will always push the equalities agenda as I am a Liberal but equally matched by my Conservative coalition, for a long time they had a relatively poor reputation here, but that has changed beyond recognition, and they now have a desire to move forward. The doors I am pushing at in terms of this equality agenda are far more open than people would realise.”

• “The Real Woman campaign and the body confidence campaign I regard as really important and while the media may say this is not government business, it is felt out there in the country. The size of this problem for young people, the depression the anxiety the eating disorders, because we are fed this continuous diet of the body shape that we all have to aspire is felt – parents know it and to a child these things are monumental. It such an important campaign but it wasn’t in the Coalition Agreement but it is now. I have pushed it onto the government agenda as I am sure they accidentally forgot it. “

• “As a Minister for Equalities people do listen to you differently and that allows me to help all the groups I am supporting on the Body Confidence campaign, you couldn’t have done that to the same degree as a spokesperson. It is not a reason for coalition government, the electorate didn’t like any of us and we couldn’t allow unstable government, but outside of my belief in coalition politics the real politics demanded a coalition. Within that coalition Liberal Democrats have fought to deliver the things that we believe in and we are finding the Conservatives have some nifty ideas themselves.”

• “I would love to see air-brushing in magazines kite marked, the gender pay gap narrow, women on Boards, to move the civil partnerships agenda forward, these are the things that matter and I am going to do my best to deliver these things.”

Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show that in May 2010 we had our highest audience ever with 3,913 visitors, there were over 1,000 more visitors in June and July too compared to last year and even August increased. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content.

2. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item. We have doubled our audience in a year. In July we published our Top Ten podcasts for that month. The top 8 all had over 100 downloads per podcast. Shirley Williams is hugely popular with 777 listeners to one podcast! The Oona King diaries are proving popular too.

3. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

4. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

5. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

6. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.
End.