Business

Resilient May an example of strong female leadership in the face of great adversity

Throughout the Brexit negotiation process, and in particular over these past few weeks, Theresa May has shown strong female leadership despite the pressure she has faced
Roseann Kelly

REGARDLESS of your opinion on Theresa May's politics and Brexit proposals, she must be admired for her resilience, leadership and determination in the face of great adversity.

Throughout the Brexit negotiation process, and in particular over these past few weeks, Theresa May has shown strong female leadership despite the pressure she has faced from opponents, including a number within her own party who appear to be on a crusade to plot her downfall.

Throughout this period of intense negotiation and scrutiny, she has stood strong and has been steadfast in her resolve.

The Prime Minister has been fighting valiantly on two fronts recently. She has been negotiating a highly complex agreement with the EU (securing concessions such as a UK wide Customs Union), whilst simultaneously facing incredulous scrutiny from her back benchers, with 60-plus Tory rebels keen to discredit the draft Brexit Agreement.

As resignations piled up on her desk, a number of calls for the Prime Minister's own resignation increased, however, whilst acknowledging the inherent challenges of guiding Britain's exit from the EU, Theresa May has shown true grit in remaining steady and surehanded.

In facing these battles, she has gained admiration from across the political spectrum including allies and staunch opponents alike. She has stood firm and determined, with her passion on delivering ‘the best possible outcome for Britain.'

With 2018 marking the 100-year anniversary of women gaining the right the vote, it is an ideal time to stand back and take stock of how far we have come. For decades, women were grossly underrepresented in UK political institutions until something of a sea change in 1997 where 1 in 10 (10 per cent) women in parliament increased to 18 per cent.

Whilst female representation in UK politics continues to improve with political parties making concerted efforts to remove gender bias through applying new policy making processes which are more inclusive of females, there remains a long way to go. Positive change has been made, due in no small part to the voices of women activists, and Women in Business are proud to support this movement.

I hope that despite (or perhaps, because of) the lack of a functioning assembly in Northern Ireland and the difficulties shrouding Brexit, that women in Northern Ireland would be inspired by the strong leadership and courage shown by Theresa May. In business, politics or personal lives, women are strong leaders who offer a holistic approach to problem solving and are capable of sharing their vision empathetically.

We need to believe in our abilities and qualities, and with future political stars like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (officially the youngest woman to serve in Congress in the history of the United States), there is much to be optimistic about as we head towards 2019.

:: Roseann Kelly is the chief executive of Women in Business

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