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  1. ITV Report

Female MPs from Kent and Sussex part of empowerment exhibition

  • Watch Sally Simmonds' report below

Female MPs from Kent and Sussex have taken part in a new exhibition in Westminster that has replaced portraits of male MPs with photographs of all the current female ones.

It is called "209 Women" and the idea is to encourage more females into this male dominated world, and to celebrate the range of backgrounds of those in Parliament now.

Female faces on the walls of Portcullis House in Westminster

The road to equality started over 150 years ago with campaigns for women's votes.

In February 1918, most women were given the vote and later that year they were allowed to stand for Parliament.

MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield, stands in a pub in the village of Firle in her photos.

She says the exhibition shows a range of ages, races, backgrounds, but that there aren't enough.

What struck me most when I went around the exhibition for the first time, is how quickly you get around it. If you had the same exhibition of male MPs it would take three times as long. It's a stark contrast at the reason why we're trying to raise the profile and encourage women to come forward and stand for Parliament."

– Maria Caulfield MP, Lewes, Con

MP for Faversham and Mis Kent, Helen Whately, says that until the number of female and male MPs is equal, it is still important to highlight the disparity.

Once we've got 50/50 we won't need to make a thing about it. If 70% of MPs were female we would need to go out and say 'hold on we need more men to stand for election' but where we are now, we need to get more women to come forward and stand. You might say 'why does it matter?' but each MP brings their own experiences to Parliament."

– Helen Whately MP, Faversham & Mid Kent, Con