International Women’s Day: Barbara Castle
In 1945, Barbara Castle was the youngest women to be elected in Labour’s post-war landslide, and became only the 4th British woman to sit in cabinet. She served as MP for Blackburn from 1945 to 1979, and until her record was broken in 2007, she was the longest serving MP in British history.
Barbara Castle was an inspiration and a hero to many women.
She fought tirelessly for equality in society, and inspired a new generation of women to become involved in left-wing politics.
Barbara Castle is arguably the most influential female politician in the Labour Party of all time. Her most defining success being her passionate fight for equal pay amongst men and women, which resulted in the 1970 Equal Pay Act.
This was not only a major achievement in Barbara Castle’s career, but it was a defining moment for women’s equality. She achieved many things during her career, such as radically reforming pensions and bringing in child benefit as a payment to mothers. As well as being the first overseas Development Minister, launching the department that is now known as the Department of International Development.
Barbara Castle held her seat in parliament when women MPs were few and far between, and she contributed to breaking the glass ceiling for women in politics.