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£400,000 awarded to organisations increasing diversity

RARE: Only 32% women MPs sit in the House of Commons and there is still a gender disparity of female MP's

SEVENTEEN LARGE projects have been awarded £406,667 to increase diversity in politics, the Minister for Women announced last week.

The new support, from a £1.5 million government fund, will back local projects supporting women and young people, especially people with disabilities, LGBT people and those from black and minority ethnic groups, to get involved in democracy and politics.

The organisations will set up a range of programmes directly benefitting at least 2347 people – including making documentaries celebrating women’s involvement in social groups, participating in a mock House of Commons debate, and building a website encouraging people with learning disabilities to vote.

Minister for Women, Victoria Atkins, said: “The brave women who fought for the equal rights of women and men to vote must be honoured. Today we have the highest number of women in history sitting in the House of Commons. However, at only 32% women MPs we have a long way to go before we see true equality.

PICTURED: Victoria Atkins MP

“By funding these innovative projects we will inspire women and young people across the country to become active participants in our democracy. We want to see a new generation of women raise their voices, get stuck in and see how they can make a difference in their local communities and across the country.

“This year, we are not just celebrating the achievements of the women who came before us – we are helping women here and now to take action to benefit the women of the next hundred years.”

The grant scheme is part of a £5 million centenary fund to open politics to the public – celebrating the centenary, educating young people about its significance, and encouraging more women to get involved and have an equal voice in the decisions that affect them.

The rest of the funding is being spent on:

- The first ever statue of a woman in Parliament Square – Millicent Fawcett
local events and activities in the Centenary Cities (seven cities and towns in England with a strong suffrage history)
- A suite of education programmes and resources that engage young people with democracy
- Initiatives to encourage more people to participate in politics such as an Ask Her to Stand event for potential women politicians
- National events celebrating the centenary including:
o The suffrage Processions this June in the four capital cities of the UK.
o The closing ceremony of the Great Exhibition of the North – the North Star

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