In this, the centenary year of women's suffrage, I am proud of the progress that has been made and that more women than ever are choosing a career in politics. I strongly believe that the more women in politics, the better equipped we are to tackle the challenges of our time.
I am not aware of any plans to commence section 106 of the Equality Act. I know this is not the answer you were looking for but I am assured that colleagues in the Government Equalities Office keep any uncommenced provisions under review. Political parties are responsible for their candidate selection and I believe they should lead the way in improving diverse representation. I know that many of them already do this well.
Representation enables women to fight for their rights, creates female role models and leads to legislation which tackles gender inequalities. That is why I want to see the proportion of public appointments going to women increase across the board, not just in Parliament, and this means tackling the root causes effectively.
I am pleased that £400,000 of funding has recently been awarded to organisations that support women to get involved in democracy and politics. This is part of a £1.5 million fund which is being awarded this year to mark the centenary. Initiatives such a Women2Win and #AskHerToStand are also working to select more women, by providing support and advice to women who wish to enter Parliament.
Of course there is more to do, and events such as the one held in Parliament are vital. The Government is firmly committed to seeing women better represented across all walks of life.