On 2nd July, over 30 female students from four London schools participating in Mosaic’s Secondary School Mentoring Programme had a unique opportunity to question leading women MPs on the challenges faced by minority groups wishing to succeed in the world of politics.
The event host, Angela Eagle MP (Shadow Leader of the House of Commons) was joined by Jo Swinson MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State of Employment relations, consumer and postal affair and junior Equalities Minister), Claire Perry MP (Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Defense and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Preventing the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood) and Dr Caroline Lucas MP (UK’s first Green MP) and leading civil servant Helen Edwards CBE (Department for Communities & Local Government) at Boothroyd Room in Portcullis House on 2nd July, at an event organised by the Patchwork Foundation and supported by Mosaic and Uprising.
The event involved over 100 young women from across the country who came together to discuss the difficulties currently facing young people from minority and deprived communities in ‘Bridging the Gap’ to not only entering, but also prospering in UK politics. The event will be chaired by the Patchwork Foundation’s National Advisory Board member Andrea Cooper, who commented: “Bridging the Gap was a great event for the many young people who attended. It is vital that minority voices flourish in politics – so that individuals reach their potential, and that decisions are in tune with the many diverse communities across the UK. It was a privilege to chair the event, and to be in the company of such accomplished and dignified women – each with their own story of how they overcame obstacles to realise their talents.”
Students from Central Foundation Girls School, Westminster Academy, Skinners Academy and Eastlea Academy, who have been taking part in Mosaic’s secondary school mentoring programme asked the first questions to the four leading Parliamentarians.
Angela Eagle MP commented: “I was thrilled to host of such an important event and taken back by how engaged the audience of young women were from Mosaic. The UK political system needs more participation from all of the groups of which it serves. This is a priority for a One Nation Labour Party and if our future leaders are anything like some of the young women I have met today then I can only see our great nation being even better.”
Adding to the theme, Jo Swinson MP said: “It was wonderful to speak to such an engaging group of young women. We need more diversity at the decision making level in society not just in politics, but in finance, business and other fields. Events like this are an important step in sharing ideas and tips on how we can achieve this and the organisers are to be commended for what was an inspirational event. Who knows, maybe someone from the audience is destined to be a CEO or maybe even the next Prime Minister.”
Caroline Lucas MP added: “It was a great privilege to be able to spend time with such inspiring young people from Mosaic at Bridging the Gap this week. The event was all about how we can ‘bridge the gap’ in politics and recognising that there is an alternative to the mainstream parties. You don’t have to be part of a machine or be a particular type of person to get involved in politics and help make change happen. I learned a lot from the conversations I had during the evening, and wish these passionate young women all the very best for the future.”
Claire Perry MP commented: “I had a great time meeting with so many inspiring young women from Mosaic. Our political system is about giving everyone a voice regardless of their gender, race or religion. Having the chance to empower a generation of these young people is exciting and I cannot wait to see what they will achieve.”
Concluding, Helen Edwards CBE added: “It is very encouraging to see a group of talented young people from Mosaic so excited and so interested in the political life of the country . Our society has come a long way in terms of equality but there is still a lot more to be done. The torch is now with the young people in the audience today to make that happen.”
Mosaic was delighted to support the event as part of Mosaic’s involvement with the Patchwork Foundation, a politically neutral organization that aims to promote and encourage the positive integration of deprived and minority communities into civic society. Mosaic’s National Director, and member of the National Advisory Board for Patchwork, Jonathan Freeman added: “Parliament and politics often seems remote and irrelevant to too many young people, especially those from minority groups and those growing up in disadvantaged areas. This event provided a fantastic opportunity for students engaged in our mentoring programme to walk in the corridors of power and question MPs directly on the issues important to them.”