Portsmouth High School were delighted to welcome Caroline Dinenage, MP to school. Caroline is MP for Gosport and represents over 100,000 constituents. She spoke to the girls about her career and being a women in Westminster.
‘Being an MP is a bit like being on the School Council,’ she said. ‘You need to listen to people’s views and feedback ideas to Westminster. I spend half of the week in London and half in Gosport where I try and solve issues ranging from access to medical care to housing issues.
‘Many women are put off from becoming an MP because it feels that it is a very male dominated world. In fact there are only 22% of women in Parliament. In the whole history of Parliament there have only been 350 female MPs. If they were all put into the Chamber together it would only half fill it. We need more women in Parliament as the majority of jobs an MP does, listening, problem solving and multi-tasking, are the things women are good at.
‘My advice to you is if you want something to change, go for it. Follow your dreams. Don’t get to the end of your life saying “I wish I’d tried that.”’
Caroline was accompanied by her Parliamentary Assistant, Edwina Iddles, an alumna of Portsmouth High School who left in 2010.
‘Think outside of the box when deciding on your future careers,’ said Edwina. ‘Get any work experience you can and enjoy your time at school.’
The girls asked questions ranging from ‘is the media to blame for why more women don’t go into parliament?’ to ‘what is the best thing about being an MP?’
‘Despite all the wonderful opportunities I’ve been given from travelling to abseiling off the Spinnaker Tower,’ said Caroline, ‘if I can change one person’s life for the better then I am doing a good job and I am happy.’