Sharon Hodgson MP: International Women’s Day is also a reminder of how far we still have to go

Female MPs at last month's launch of Labour's campaign to celebrate 100 years of women's suffrage on College Green in Westminster. Picture by Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Female MPs at last month's launch of Labour's campaign to celebrate 100 years of women's suffrage on College Green in Westminster. Picture by Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
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Today marks International Women’s Day; a day to celebrate the success of women around the world but also a day to reflect on how far we still have to go.

This year’s theme is #PressForProgress, which aims to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

It is no doubt that days like today still need to exist, even in 2018.

Despite making up 51% of the population, women are still outnumbered in almost all professions.

Currently in the House of Commons, there are twice the number of men than women elected in Parliament, and at the current rate of progress it will take 50 years to achieve gender equality in Parliament.

In a 100 years since some women got the right to vote, I am the only Sharon elected since 1918, compared to 403 men named John in the same period.

Similarly, a FTSE 100 CEO is more likely to be named David than be a woman, and will earn on average 77% more than their female counterparts.

If these high profile positions cannot practice and promote gender equality in the workplace, then it is difficult to expect others to follow.

That is why the Government must therefore take decisive action to ensure that companies deliver on gender equality in the workplace, and take steps to encourage gender equality in Parliament.

This is something the Labour Party has been championing for many decades now, and I am proud to be one of the 119 female Labour Party Members of Parliament sitting in the House of Commons today, making up 45% of Labour MPs.

To #PressForProgress, I will be building on the past achievements of Labour women who have come before me and pushing for full equality and protection of women: financially, in the workplace, in families and in the homes and in public spaces.