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International Women's Day

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:25 pm on 11th March 2010.

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Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Chair, Modernisation of the House of Commons Committee, Minister of State (Government Equalities Office), The Leader of the House of Commons , Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Party Chair, Labour Party, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party 1:25 pm, 11th March 2010

That would not have been possible without Labour MPs, including my hon. Friend, raising the issue. She has boldly raised issues that were swept under the carpet and particularly affected women, but also men. I pay tribute to the work that she has done, and all the women on the Labour Benches backed her strongly in making such changes.

People see how equality is important for each and every individual. They know that equality is critical for a thriving and prosperous economy and meritocracy. They recognise that fairness and equality is the basis for peaceful and cohesive communities. That shift in public opinion poses a challenge for everyone, including all the political parties, the captains of industry and the public sector, but it is a helpful challenge and a mandate for yet further progressive change. This is essentially an argument about modernity and a future that is fair for all, in which all are fully represented and have an equal say.