Why the likes of Rachel Reeves and Angela Rayner, Labour's top women in Keir Starmer's cabinet, are a source of inspiration - stop the pathetic attacks

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Rachel Reeves becoming the UK’s first female chancellor and Angela Rayner becoming the Deputy Prime Minister is not something to simply brush over, it is something that is a source of inspiration for the likes of myself and many girls and women across the UK.

Reeves was born in south-east London and her parents were both teachers. She quickly rose up the ranks on entering Parliament and was a former Bank of England economist. She feels keenly that a lack of female role models can be a barrier to entry to both politics and economics - hence the motivation behind her new book, The Women Who Made Modern Economics, a follow-up to her 2019 volume Women of Westminster: the MPs Who Changed Politics.

Seeing a female who has worked hard during her career to become the UK’s first female chancellor is inspiring and refreshing. Yet, some have missed this point. One person posted on X, formerly Twitter: “I’m worried to be honest, Rachel Reeves is from traditional finance background and will be looking out for her old mates”.

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I am not worried, I am looking forward to seeing how a highly motivated, hard-working woman is going to deliver. Another user wrote on X: “I couldn’t care less what’s between her legs, but she clearly doesn’t understand basic economics”. Here Reeves is attacked despite having qualifications, and then on the flip side, Angela Rayner, appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, is attacked for not having qualifications. It is pathetic.

Rachel Reeves becoming the UK’s first female chancellor and Angela Rayner becoming the Deputy Prime Minister is not something to simply brush over, it is something that is a source of inspiration for the likes of myself and many girls and women across the UK. (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)Rachel Reeves becoming the UK’s first female chancellor and Angela Rayner becoming the Deputy Prime Minister is not something to simply brush over, it is something that is a source of inspiration for the likes of myself and many girls and women across the UK. (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)
Rachel Reeves becoming the UK’s first female chancellor and Angela Rayner becoming the Deputy Prime Minister is not something to simply brush over, it is something that is a source of inspiration for the likes of myself and many girls and women across the UK. (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire) | Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Rayner has also been appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in Keir Starmer's cabinet. Ms Rayner’s story is one that will give motivation to state-educated children and those who have not attended Eton schools. She was brought up on a council estate in Manchester and left school at 16 with no qualifications, and pregnant with her first son.

I saw on a tweet on X, formerly Twitter, by a user that wrote: “Angela Rayner is the Deputy PM, has zero qualifications and left school at 16. I am not saying you need to go to uni to be successful but it does feel weird you need a degree to be a doctor but don’t to run the country...”. Just because Rayner doesn’t have a degree doesn’t mean she is therefore barred and unable to have a position in the cabinet or not fit to run the country. A university degree doesn’t mean someone is smarter than another person that has not got these qualifications behind their name.

I have seen people on social media calling Rayner “thick” and “dim”, and another user wrote on X: “So the message is, don't study hard, don't do well at school leave with no qualifications get pregnant at 16 and you might get to be like Angela Rayner as deputy leader of Great Britain.” I think comments like these are outrageous.

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Angela Rayner has shown it is perfectly possible to rise up the ranks with sheer hard work and determination - a source of inspiration in particular for girls growing up in working class communities. She has smashed barriers and has made an amazing achievement.

My mother grew up on a council estate, has no qualifications and yet she is clever, quick and witty and the strongest woman I know. Judging someone based off their background and how they grew up is shallow and serves only to bring people down.

Formal education does not equal intelligence. Angela Rayner has succeeded and is a role model for girls and women from less advantaged backgrounds. It is so refreshing and good to see normal women in politics that can actually relate to the lives of working class communities and people from ordinary backgrounds.

It has given me a boost of inspiration and motivation, and I am looking forward to seeing how the women in Keir Starmer’s cabinet deliver. Stop the pathetic attacks on Rayner’s lack of qualifications and branding her as “thick” for it.

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Instead, admire and celebrate the sheer hard work, dedication, motivation and drive to do well and be ambitious. Parliament should reflect a wide section of society, not just the wealthy, elite and upper classes, and it is brilliant to see.

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