Show your support for International Women’s Day

NILALC100507A4 - Erewash election. Conservative winner Jessica Lee
NILALC100507A4 - Erewash election. Conservative winner Jessica Lee

Well it’s going to be a topical column this month: girl power!

Along with my colleagues in Parliament, Rt Hon Maria Miller and Rt Hon Caroline Spelman, I have put in an application for a Backbench business debate on Thursday March 5 to discuss the importance of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on Sunday March 8.

This will give all MPs the opportunity to support women in their constituencies and talk about wider issues affecting women globally.

I am really pleased that the Backbench Business Committee have accepted our application and it will indeed take place in the House of Commons.

The debate often looks at the position of women all around the world and current issues of interest. Equal pay is still a critical issue in this country, let alone other places in the world where women have fewer opportunities for work and education.

I don’t usually have a chance to catch the coverage of the Oscars but one speech in particular caught my attention and that was the acceptance speech of Patricia Arquette as she won an Oscar for her role in Boyhood.

The speech was full of the usual “thank you to…” lines but she then went neatly on to equality for women. So women’s issues are topical in Tinsel Town at the moment too!

In Erewash, there are so many budding female entrepreneurs, strong female role models and businesses growing with women at the helm.

These days, most businesses start on someone’s computer in their home.

This is more flexible than fixed hours and so many women find starting a business at home compatible with juggling family and other responsibilities.

The numbers of women in employment in the UK is at its highest ever level.

Of course, there is always more we can do. We need to encourage our young women and female students into a broader range of careers.

Locally, big companies such as Rolls-Royce are supportive of female apprentices and trainees and the message that engineering is an exciting career for women is really getting through.

Finally, I wanted to thank Nicola and all the team at the new construction skills college in Stanton-by-Dale.

It was my pleasure to open the new college last week and thank the team of staff as well as the many local building firms who have thrown in their support.

This opens up many new training and apprenticeship roles in the construction industry for young people in the area.

Try not to forget Mother’s Day on March 15!

I will remind you that Parliament dissolves at the end of March in the run up to the General Election.

However, my constituency office will still be open until May 6 for any matters of concern.

I am still holding my regular surgeries until then.

Please call my office on 0115 9722419 to arrange an appointment, or email jessica.lee.mp@parliament.uk.