Penny Mordaunt, former Secretary of State for Defence, International Development and Minister for Women and Equalities, appeared on “A Podcast of One’s Own” alongside Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia.
Penny spoke about her experience of becoming a candidate, and some of the barriers which hold women back from starting the process:
“I kind of had secretly wanted to but thought: ‘Obviously I’m not cut out for this’…The time it takes for a man to go on that first introductory session to then putting their application form in to become an MP, it’s about a fortnight. For women it’s over a year.“
“Our skill sets are sky-high, but our confidence is not there. We’re always thinking: ‘How can I learn more about public policy?’, ‘Do I need some more experience?’…A lot of the fellas are thinking ‘I’m going to be a great MP when can I start?’”
Focusing on her former International Development brief, Penny spoke about the importance of women in achieving the global goals
“Women are the entire margin of victory. If you take any of the global goals, anything you’re trying to get done in the world…if you look after women, if you give women what they need to thrive, if you involve women, these things will be solved...That’s not an air-fairy statement…it was so stark.”
When Penny was appointed Secretary of State for Defence, she was the first woman to take on the position.
“I was aware on day one what a female Secretary of State meant for people in the armed forces, particularly women…but I didn’t really appreciate, I think until I’d left the job, how much it had meant to some people.”
You can listen to the full podcast here