Margot James MP
“Stand up and be counted. Do as much or as little as you can.”
What would you say to encourage and inspire more women to take an active role in public life and society in general?
Standing for public office might seem daunting at first but political parties are always on the look out for good people, especially women, and training and mentoring is available.
Of course it doesn’t have to be a political party, it could be a campaigning pressure group like Stonewall or a charity like Age Concern or Save the Children. If you feel you are too busy at work and with family responsibilities you could try speaking to your employer about whether there are any causes the company supports you could contribute something to.
When I was in business we gave office space to a wonderful African charity called Abantu which fought for women’s rights in Africa and that gave people easy access to working for a good cause during working hours.
Abantu was founded and led by an amazing Kenyan woman, Wanjiru Kihoro, who was an inspiration to me as is Angela Mason, ex CEO of Stonewall, who was always so reasonable and polite in argument, no one could possibly disagree.
Other inspirations... Chris Smith, now Lord Smith; I will never forget his coming out in Rugby twenty five years ago, Margaret Thatcher, Barbara Castle, My late father, my late brother in law, and my Politics teacher at school.
Stand up and be counted. Do as much or as little as you can.
Margot James is a politician and entrepreneur.
She became Conservative MP for Stourbridge in 2010 and is also Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for Women.
James ranked in the top 50 on The Independent’s Pink List of the 101 most influential gay men and women in 2009. She is the only prominent lesbian in the Conservative party.
In 1986 she co-founded her own company, Shire Health, a PR and medical education business. It was voted ‘Consultancy of the Year’ three times.
She lives with her partner, BBC TV presenter Jay Hunt.