I am thrilled to be covering for Jo Swinson as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women and Equalities while she is on maternity leave following the birth of her first baby.
The government’s Body Confidence campaign is something that I am passionate about and I am privileged to be taking the lead on this campaign. I believe that all young women should feel valued for what they can achieve and not how they how they look. In September we held the first international body confidence seminar with academics from as far afield as the USA and Australia. We recently published a paper based on the seminar which brings together the research on this subject.
During Anti-Bullying Week in November, Jo Swinson launched our project to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools at a school in East London. This new project will help us to understand the issues and develop effective, evidence-based tools and best practice that will help schools to stamp out this harmful behaviour.
This year the first National Women in Engineering Day will take place on 23 June. The day will celebrate the achievements of women engineers and also encourage more girls to consider engineering as a career choice. Currently, only 8% of engineers working in the UK are women. This is a huge waste of potential talent, particularly given the skills shortages in these areas.
We must make sure that young women are fully informed of the vast and varied career choices open to them. I am looking forward to taking this work forwards as we continue to deliver on our commitments to promote women in economic growth. You can find out more about the day and how you or your organisation can take part in National Women in Engineering Day here: http://www.wes.org.uk/nwed
I am very much looking forward to meeting with members of the women’s sector as part of our Women’s Engagement Programme, and to hearing your views about the topics that really matter to you.