David Cameron's 'female-friendly' reshuffle has made headlines, but who are these women and why have they been chosen?
David Cameron’s ‘female-friendly’ cabinet re-shuffle has seen the appointment of some ambitious, capable and clever women into the heart of government. In total, 10 women were promoted and, as you would expect, this has made front page news.
Some of the tabloid coverage of the new female cabinet members has been shocking. Esther McVey has been referred to as the ‘Queen of the Downing Street catwalk’, and one commentator said that Liz Truss ‘looked bright and sensible but a little bit too Eighties air hostess’.
So far, so brazenly sexist. But what do these women have to offer and why have they been chosen? Here, we look at some of the key female players in Cameron’s new and improved cabinet.
Esther McVey, 46
Cabinet position: Will remain in current role as Minister for Employment and Disabilities but will attend cabinet meetings. It’s been described as a somewhat underwhelming promotion.
CV highlights: She has degrees in law and corporate governance, has worked as a journalist and TV presenter for GMTV, Channel 4 and the BBC, has owned a business which set up office space for new start-ups and has written a careers book, If Chloe Can, consisting of inspiring interviews with top achieving women.
Why chosen: She’s a rare northern voice for the Tories and has bags of media-friendly charisma which Cameron hopes will win over voters.
What else should I know? She’s is a long-time friend of Kate McCann and was spokesperson for Madeleine’s Fund from its launch in May 2007.
Tina Stowell, 47
Cabinet position: Leader of the House of Lords and will attend cabinet meetings.
CV highlights: She joined the civil service age 18 as a secretary and was the Head of Corporate Affairs for the BBC until 2010. She’s also been Government Whip, worked for the Ministry of Defence and was awarded an MBE in 1996 for her services to the Prime Minister’s office (John Major was in the top job at the time). As an extra note, she was instrumental in the passing of the Same Sex Couples Bill in 2013.
Why chosen: Her working class roots (her mother was a factory worker and her father was a painter-decorator AND she attended a comprehensive school) make her an attractive prospect for most voters.
What else should I know: She’ll be paid £78,891, compared to the £101,038 her male predecessor earned per year, according to Bloomberg. So much for equal pay.
Liz Truss, 38
Cabinet position: Environment Secretary
CV highlights: This is probably the highlight as she is the youngest ever female cabinet member. She studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University, founded the conservative Free Enterprise Group and wrote a policy filled book called Britannia Unchained.
Why chosen: She’s young, ambitious and a rising star in politics, who’s even tipped as a future leader.
What else should I know? She loves politics. Really loves it. When asked if she would ever leave politics, she replied: ‘God, they’d have to take me out in a box.’
Nicky Morgan, 41
Cabinet position: Succeeds Michael Gove as Education Secretary. She will also retain her current role as Minister for Women.
CV highlights: She’s only been an MP for four years but has rised through the ranks quickly. Before that she was a corporate lawyer, head girl at her private school, Surbiton High, and studied law at Oxford.
Why chosen: To smooth over some of the damage done by Michael Gove.
What else should I know? She voted against equal marriage for gay couples, so the ‘Equalities’ part of the title Minister for Women and Equalities had to be removed.
Other women who have been given more junior roles:
Penny Mordaunt, 41, is a Communities Minister.
Priti Patel, 42, is the Exchequer Secretary under George Osborne.
Amber Rudd, 50, is a minister at the Energy and Climate Change department, replacing Greg Barker.
Claire Perry, 50, is the new rail minister, replacing Stephen Hammon.