Jacqui Smith’s talk on Honourable Ladies in Politics proved an entertaining and informative start to International Women’s Day 2019.
The lecture, held at Aston University was well attended and the audience heard of the many inspirational, pioneering women across the political spectrum, from Lady Megan Lloyd George and Bessie Braddock to Tessa Jowell and Edwina Curry. What stood out in each case highlighted was the individual’s enthusiasm, effort and passion for making a positive difference to people’s lives. As the UK’s first Home Secretary said, “Every politician I have met believes they can make a difference. Politician’s want change and always want to achieve something.”
The downside of a life in politics is, according to Jacqui, the “toxic nature of public life, which tends to affect women disproportionally”. In the subsequent Q&A session, she confirmed that some of the challenges facing women in
politics 100 years ago remain the same today and the juggling of personal life and public persona continues to be as difficult as ever.
It was a humorous, insightful and candid appraisal of some of the most influential women in British politics over the past 100 years.