Our day in the House of Lords

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Two Girlguiding members from Colerane and Kilrea had their say in a diversity debate in Parliament earlier this month.

Holly Woodhead, 16, a member of 3rd Colerane Senior Section, and Emma Taggart, 15, joined more than 200 participants as the House of Lords opened its doors for the Chamber Event 2015.

Lord Speaker Baroness D’Souza led the debate.

Girlguiding worked on the event in partnership with House of Lords, other organisations and schools. Adults and young people from Girlguiding, the British Humanist Association, the Humanist Society Scotland and the Three Faiths Forum debated the following motion from the red benches of the Chamber: ‘How do we increase diversity in Parliament?’

Holly, who is a pupil at Colerane Grammar School was among just six members of Girlguiding aged 17-25 who was in the spotlight to make a special speech to the Chamber before the floor was opened up to other contributions.

She spoke about the need for more diversity in Parliament and the importance of giving the political parties the responsibility of improving diversity in parliament.

She said: “It was very exciting.

“I was a key speaker and prior to my three minute speech I felt quite nervous, however the lord speaker made us all feel very comfortable and valued.

“One of my favourite parts of the day was meeting other like-minded Guides from all over the UK and hearing all about their views and political culture.

Emma, who attends Dominican College, Portstewart, was among the 70 members of Girlguiding from across the UK to be selected to sit in the House of Lords debate.

Emma added: “I am interested in diversity and intersectionality so taking part in this event allowed me to learn more about their place in politics.

“I really enjoyed listening to all the different viewpoints and perspectives on how to increase diversity in Parliament as it allowed me to expand my understanding of the issue of diversity in Parliament.”

Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey has found that over half of girls and young women aged 11-21 feel that politicians do not listen to their views enough, while sixty three per cent think that girls’ voices would be listened to more if there were more female MPs.