Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION - CH­ERYL GILLAN MP for Che­sham & Amer­sham

IN the shape of the US Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, democ­racy has again dealt a sur­prise to the poll­sters and many of the po­lit­i­cal ob­servers and com­men­ta­tors who think and claim they know the minds of “the peo­ple”.

It re­minds us that our ci­ti­zens lead di­verse lives and that the po­lit­i­cal “classes” some­times do not ap­pre­ci­ate the var­ied ex­pe­ri­ence of peo­ple liv­ing in the same state or coun­try.

It also re­minded us of the glass ceil­ing for women which means that so many coun­tries still do not and never have had a woman as the head of state. We are for­tu­nate now in hav­ing both a fe­male Head of State and a fe­male Prime Min­is­ter. That means that we can en­cour­age our daugh­ters as well as our sons to re­alise that they can achieve any­thing. They should only be lim­ited by their abil­ity, not by their gen­der, wealth, ap­pear­ance, colour or creed.

There have been a lot of glass ceil­ings shat­tered over the years and in­deed I have bro­ken a few my­self. We are of­ten told now that it is a woman’s world and that girls are no longer ‘the se­cond sex’. They ap­pear con­fi­dent and ar­tic­u­late, of­ten out-per­form­ing the boys of the same age group. How­ever, they can still be in­wardly lack­ing in self-es­teem and the world of so­cial me­dia can give a very false im­pres­sion of the lives of their peers, mak­ing our young women feel un­suc­cess­ful rather than re­flect­ing on all their achieve­ments and build­ing on them.

We must work to­wards a coun­try that, as our new Prime Min­is­ter says, works for ev­ery­one: a coun­try where women are rep­re­sented in pub­lic and com­mer­cial spheres, so there are role mod­els and the par­ity of es­teem.

The US sit­u­a­tion will set­tle down. Mr Pres­i­dent-Elect Don­ald Trump will find that the hard and dif­fi­cult busi­ness of gov­ern­ing is a lot more se­ri­ous and ar­du­ous than the im­pres­sion given by the of­ten shal­low and care­less rhetoric of cam­paign­ing. There is a les­son in this for all of us. What’s your view on this? Have your say on our let­ters page

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