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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

One of the different perspectives women have brought to the House is an understanding of the importance of family life, and of the issues facing people who have the major responsibility for caring for children or older relatives. We want that kind of experience in this House, and it is therefore very important that the allowance system ensures that we can continue to make progress in having more women in the House of Commons, balancing their work and family responsibilities in the same way as do women throughout the rest of the country.

Many of the women who first entered the House in 1997, and who have, therefore, served for 13 years, are standing down at the next election. Each and every one of them has blazed a trail and made a difference in their constituency, and has paved the way for the dynamic new women candidates who will be taking their place. They have their place in history, and it will be remembered, and I pay tribute to them. They are not "Blair's babes"; they are their own women, and I am proud of what they have done.