Hat tip Mrs Mensch!

Posted 6 Aug 2012 by Walaa Idris

Not being facetious, but Louise Mensch resigning her parliamentary seat midway in the parliamentary cycle, to be with her family, although admirable it should at the same time serve as a wake-up call. Especially to young women who want a career in parliament. Since Cameron became a leader there seem to be this obsession with youth, aesthetics and of course a little fame. All three tend to cut both ways; they all can be an asset yet equally a hindrance.

After failing to get selected as a parliamentary candidate, like most people who fall short of achieving their dreams, I licked my wounded pride and reassessed my situation. I will be lying if I said I did not ask ‘why me?’ or compared my failure to others’ success, because I did both.

Let me just put it out there!

Besides not being your typical Tory candidate (Oxbridge connections, a little money and some record of high achievement) I started my quest for political office later than most, because, as a single parent, it was the right time for my family and me. I will never forget when Women2Win put me in touch with two mentors. The first told me I started too late and if I did not make the first tranche of the A’list (which was leaked out two days after that meeting) then I am as good as out of the race! And when I said: “but I thought my experience and teen family is an asset” – she smiled and shook her head; no. We had only the one meeting and I never saw her again. But became best friends with my second mentor, Dame Marion Row, a woman I owe so much to her wisdom and continued support and even though my political dream has since been extinguished our friendship is very alive.

I always though becoming an MP was about giving back from one’s life experiences; thus bringing into parliament a diverse collection of expertise! That’s why I never understood the obsession with the ultra-young becoming parliamentarians.

Louise stepping down shows she is a balanced and brave woman. Balanced because she sees the potential damage sacrificing her family life might have on them, and she is brave admitting it and not pretending otherwise. For that she deserves our respect and admiration.

But what about the other young MPs who weekly leave their young families behind for possibly days, or the ones who put off having families for the job? Parliament work can be extremely demanding and not many spouses can deal alone with family commitments or being away from their other half. There is no shame in admitting you made a mistake and rectifying it, the shame is in pretending you are a superwoman when you are only human.

Categories: ,

Commenting is closed for this article.