As part of the celebration of 100 years since women got the vote, I was asked to comment on one of 100 things we want to achieve in the #VoteNext100 years.
I’d like us to achieve 50-50 male-to-female MPs.
This got me thinking; would I ever put myself forward to be one of those 325 female MPs?
The answer that came back was a hasty and terrified ‘NO!’ I was tempted to shove that thought in a dark drawer and never look at it again.
But I have feeling that my reticence to even look at a political career is mirrored in the ‘common sense’ of thousands of other intelligent female leaders who do the same.
Aside from my lack of suitability in terms of personality type and temperament (I imagine great MPs are super-organised and love to paw through public policy documents) and aside from having no idea which party I’d stand for (just a pretty comprehensive list of parties I wouldn’t stand for), a number of interesting beliefs popped up:
Would you some day like to be an MP Sarah?
No, I’m no good at arguing
No, I’m not a power-grabbing egoist (or more calmly put, ‘I’m not that ambitious’)
No, I don’t fancy being a public punch bag when people have a problem with something
No, I have better things to do with my life
No! I would have no idea what I’m doing
No!! I’m not a political person, I’d rather we all just get along
And NO! – Who would pick me anyway?!
This isn’t just about politics. I see women every day shying away from opportunities for leadership for many of the same reasons.
I’m on a mission to develop 100 leading female voices. It’s my daily work to encourage women to step up to visibility levels way beyond what they thought was possible.
And here’s me shying away from the most important place of visibility and leadership that our country has to offer.
What’s the word for that? Hypocrit!
What’s that about?
And what do we do about it?
What I don’t want is a load of answers to this post saying, ‘Oh Sarah, you should totally stand for parliament’, that’s not the point of this at all.
The point is that we need to dare to call ‘bullshit’ on the old, outdated (and boring) beliefs we have about ourselves and our leadership.
We need more women daring to step into politics.
And we need more women daring to step into positions of leadership and visibility in all walks of life.
The UK’s leading inspiring speaking expert & best-selling author. Sarah Lloyd-Hughes is a multiple-award winning public speaking coach, founder of Ginger and author of “How to be Brilliant at Public Speaking” (Pearson).