On 8th March 2016, in celebration of International Women’s Day 2016, Richard Harrington, MP for Watford, invited two Watford girls to shadow him in Parliament.
Samantha Sibanda was chosen by her teachers at Francis Combe and Sophie Richards was chosen from Watford UTC.
The young ladies took part in a workshop to discuss how to get to a 50:50 gender balanced Parliament. After this they took part in #takeovertuesday which meant that the girls took the place of members of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, a group of MPs chaired by Maria Miller, who are elected to scrutinise the work of the Minister for Women and Equalities. Samantha’s name and school were written on the official Order Paper for the Commons.
Samantha was selected to sit on the committee for the session to ask her question: “Do you think that integration is an issue in our society? If so what are the policies you have in place to tackle this?”.
The girls then had lunch with Richard Harrington, MP for Watford, in a Commons restaurant, discussing the significance of International Women’s Day, discrimination in the workplace and the girls’ plans for the future.
After lunch both girls went on tour of 10 Downing Street and then back to Parliament to watch the International Women’s Day debate in the Commons.
Speaking about the day, Richard said: “I would have loved to have had this opportunity at their age so it’s a privilege for me to be able to invite Samantha and Sophie to have this experience. The girls were fantastic – Maria Miller told me how impressed she was with Samantha’s confident questioning style. I wish them both the best for the future.”