West Ham MP Lyn Brown remembers her mum on International Women’s Day


- Credit: Archant

On Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day.

It’s a bitter-sweet time for me. I remember the amazing things my mum did for me and the exceptionally positive impact she had on my life. It’s painful, too. She died on Mothers’ Day in 2011.

This week also commemorates International Women’s Day, a celebration of the successes in women’s long struggle towards true equality.

Mum taught me I could do anything I chose and that my relationships with men should be equal. My dad would agree that he, too, learnt a lot from mum, on that score.

When mum was born, we had no NHS, rudimentary education and no welfare state. Her careers guidance at Pretoria School, now Eastlea, was become either a hairdresser or a seamstress. She chose the latter, because, aged 14, she didn’t fancy handling other people’s dirty hair.

Much has been gained in equality for women since my mum was born, but we must not be complacent. Even after the Equal Pay Act my mum, and many others like her all over the country, was still fighting for parity at work.

As I’ve said many times before, this government is hitting women hard.

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Recent figures show more than a fifth of women in London receive pay lower than the London Living Wage. It’s so important for women, that Sadiq Khan has put the London Living Wage at the centre of his campaign to become London’s Mayor.

He also pledged to establish a London Childcare Commission to improve provision across the capital, to help mums hindered from returning to work by high childcare costs.

These are real pledges, leading to real improvements.

Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day and remember our mums.

Celebrate the gains in our quest for equality, but bless our mothers for their kindness, thoughtfulness and love. More from Lyn

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