Despite women gaining the right to stand for election in the House of Commons a century ago, since then there have been just 491 female MPs elected, compared with 4,503 male MPs. Emmy Beazley-Williams, HR Assistant, was invited to take part in Ask Her To Stand Day – an event led by the Government which brought women to Westminster to give them a taste of political life – in recognition of her work enhancing her local community. 

emmy beazley williams mp

The Government’s 50:50 campaign looks to redress the gender balance and encourage more women to stand for election.

Emmy first became interested in working with her local community, Bounds Green, two years ago when she was on maternity leave.

She says, “I was frustrated with the state of my local park and, while I could meet other parents at mother and baby groups, it was difficult to meet others across the generations. We all know that loneliness and isolation are problems amongst older people, but there were no local events where our community could get together.”
Emmy was invited to attend Parliament as a result of her commitment and action in her local community and her interest in politics. She was nominated to attend Ask Her To Stand Day by her local MP Bambos Charlambous.

She says, “I decided to print some flyers and post them around my neighbourhood calling a public meeting. There was a really positive response to that and a group of us started litter picking every month.

“From there, we arranged an Easter egg hunt in the park and also had carol singing at Christmas. What motivates me is that I want to make a difference. The impact of government cuts is evident in my local neighbourhood and it’s been a tough time for people here.”

Through getting involved in her local community, Emmy met MPs, counsellors and the police and started to understand how her area was governed and what resources were available. 

She says, “It’s not just the environment that I’m working on improving – we will have a rose garden planted in the park this year thanks to our campaigning – I’m also passionate about improving the safety of the local area.” 

On Ask Her To Stand Day itself, Emmy went to the House of Parliament to hear from a panel of women including select committee MPs and representatives from the Fawcett Society, a charity that campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights. 

She says, “The day was life changing for me. It was inspiring to see powerful women talking about what could be achieved through politics and campaigning. One of the speeches that stuck in my mind was Stella Creasey MP who said that women often say to her that they wouldn’t run for office because they are worried about being abused online. Stella said what worried her most is that women expected to receive abuse for doing a public service role. No one should expect or put up with abuse and it is a shame that fear is a barrier to women progressing in politics. 

“The people I met gave me so much to think about and opened my eyes to new opportunities. When the MPs discussed their motivation for entering politics, I could relate in a way with my role in HR because it’s all about people and doing your best for other people.”

Of working at St George’s, Emmy says, “I have been doing an HR qualification while working here and am also raising my son. It’s not been easy to balance everything and also leading on the community work, especially as I travel quite a long way to get to work. But for me it is worth it because of the great team I have around me, my lovely colleagues across St George’s and also because of the nature of what the university does.”