Last week one of our students, Maisie Durrant, was offered the once in a lifetime opportunity to shadow Eastleigh MP Mims Davies at the Houses of Parliament! The initiative coincided with International Women’s Day, during which Parliament discussed equal opportunities for men and women in the workplace.
Maisie, a Junior Architectural Technologist at Axis Architecture and studying Built Environment at Eastleigh College, was put forward by her tutors to take part in the visit, and at first wasn’t sure if it was for her, “I work in construction so I’m not that interested in politics”. But once Maisie arrived at Parliament she was surprised to see how excited she was: “Once I saw what we would be talking about I realised I had quite strong views on the topics, and I really enjoyed getting involved in the debates.”
The day involved a ‘takeover Tuesday’ where Maisie got to ask the MPs questions about the topic of equal workplace opportunities, as well as observing the debate at the House of Commons and a guided tour of Number 10 Downing Street!
Maisie’s favourite part of the day was being able to question the MPs about the topics at the forefront of International Women’s Day. Voicing her own views, Maisie said, “Currently women only make up 20% of Parliament. Young females are told that they shouldn’t be interested in politics and that they’ll likely fail if they try.
“International Women’s Day is about educating people about a divide that shouldn’t be there. I’m a girl who works in Construction, and people do question my career choice because I’m female. But people don’t realise that I don’t work on building sites; I’m a designer in an office. There are so many careers to choose from, and we’re not told about them all at school.”
Maisie was incredibly happy to have been chosen to shadow Mims Davies MP at the Houses of Parliament, and learnt a lot from the experience. She learned that very few women are encouraged to pursue a career in politics, and therefore the female voice is often unrepresented in Parliament. “This ties in really well with my situation as a female working in construction,” said Maisie, “It shouldn’t matter what you do, all that should matter is how much you succeed in what you do”.