Somerset Liberal Democrats have shown their support for this year’s International Women’s Day. Pictured in the #EmbraceEquity pose, Lib Dem Somerset Councillors have shown their commitment to ensuring gender equity and the important role it plays in creating a truly inclusive community.

Cllr Sarah Dyke, Lead Member for Environment and Climate on the council and a Parliamentary candidate, said: “Women are not a minority, we account for over half of the UK population, yet in both politics and public life in the UK, women have historically been underrepresented.

"There are currently only 225 female MPs in the House of Commons. At 35%, this is an all-time high, but legislative representation is not yet balanced. It seems extraordinary that there have been less than 400 women MPs in total since Nancy Astor was the first woman MP to take her seat in parliament in 1919.

 "Politics often excites strong emotions and politicians occasionally make unpopular decisions and they must be prepared to answer for those decisions. But what they shouldn’t have to be prepared for is a stream of threats and harassment.

"Just over 100 years ago, Nancy Astor had to push past jeering male colleagues in the chamber to get there and now women MPs often cite abuse as a factor in their decision not to stand for re-election.

 "It seems appropriate therefore that the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Embrace Equity”.

"The March 8th event honours women of the past, present, and future generations who have fought for change in gender equality. Equity is not just something we say or write about. It’s something we need to think about, know, and embrace.

"It’s what we should believe in, unconditionally. Equity means creating an inclusive world and never more so in politics, which needs women representatives at all levels, from Parish to Parliament to stand for election and become decision makers in their communities. So my hope is that more women from all sorts of backgrounds get involved – women’s voices matter.”