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Women are becoming the most powerful force in US politics. Three of the most influential US activists – Cecile Richards, Alicia Garza and Ai-jen Poo – have launched ‘Supermajority’, with the goal of rallying two million women over the next year to become political leaders in their communities.

Women are having a voice and using it; the Women’s March the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump was the largest single-day protest in US history. The 2018 mid-term elections saw a record number of women, including women from ethnic minority groups, elected to Congress and the US now has the highest number of women ever running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The political phenomenon, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, has had a meteoric rise to Congress and is now the second most talked about politician in the US after Trump with her ‘winning hearts and minds’ approach to campaigning.

Women now realise that if they don’t get involved then things won’t change. With a record level of women in office, these are the women who create opportunities for other women to follow. There is still a long way to go; women make up over half the US population, but they are still underrepresented in every aspect of leadership from local politics to the boardroom.

So what does this mean for the UK? We too have seen an increase in participation of women in politics. ‘Processions 2018’ saw tens of thousands of women across the UK march to celebrate 100 years of suffrage. In 2018, the first statue of a women, Dame Millicent Fawcett, the women’s right-to-vote campaigner, was erected in Parliament Square. Later this year, as a result of a crowdfunding initiative, a statue of Lady Nancy Astor, the first female MP to sit in UK Parliament, is to be erected in Plymouth to celebrate 100 years since her election. The campaign to have a woman scientist on the new £50 note has been loud and clear and we will know the result this summer. These are just a few high-profile examples; everywhere, women are raising their voices, getting involved and getting results.

So how do we harness the talents and enthusiasm of women willing to enter the political debate? Groups like 50:50 Parliament are successfully encouraging women from all parties to come forward with its #AskHerToStand campaign. Brandon Lewis MP, the Conservative Party chairman, has announced his ambition of having 50% women candidate lists. The Conservative Party is holding its first Women’s Conference in Birmingham, featuring policy discussions and skills workshops.

Why does this matter? Is this just political correctness? No. It matters because politics often reflects the experiences of those making the policies; unless we have representation on our green benches in Parliament, we are not going to have the policies that reflect the electorate. And without policies that reflect the electorate we are going to find it even harder to win elections.

Women have different perspectives because they have had different life experiences; not better or worse, but different. Women make up 50% of the talent in the UK: let’s make sure we all benefit from it.

Virginia Crosbie is the director of Women2Win. This article first appeared in our Centre Write magazine Identity crisis?. Views expressed in this article are those of the author, not necessarily those of Bright Blue.