United Kingdom
Minister
for Women and Equalities
Royal Arms as used by His Majesty's Government
Incumbent
Kemi Badenoch
since 25 October 2022
Government Equalities Office
StyleThe Right Honourable
AppointerThe Monarch
(on the advice of the Prime Minister)
Inaugural holderHarriet Harman
Formation3 May 1997; 26 years ago (1997-05-03) (as Minister for Women)
Websitewww.equalities.gov.uk/

The Minister for Women and Equalities is a ministerial position in the United Kingdom which leads the Government Equalities Office. This is an independent department within the wider Cabinet Office that has responsibility for addressing all forms of discrimination, with particular emphasis on gender inequality. Prior to April 2019, the minister was based at the Home Office, DFID and DfE. Its counterpart in the shadow cabinet is the shadow secretary of state for women and equalities.

The minister is deputised by two parliamentary under-secretaries of state; the parliamentary under-secretary of state for women and the parliamentary under-secretary of state for equalities.

The position was formerly known as; "Minister for Women", "Minister for Women and Equality", and "Minister for Equalities".

History

The position of Minister for Women was created by Tony Blair when he became prime minister as a means of prioritising women's issues across government. Prior to that, there had been an equality unit in the Cabinet Office and a Cabinet committee, which were continued under the leadership of the new minister.[1] When Gordon Brown succeeded Blair, he created the post of Minister for Women and Equality to handle a wider range of equalities issues. The first Minister for Women and, ten years later, the first Minister for Women and Equality was Harriet Harman. On 12 October 2007[2] a new department, the Government Equalities Office, was created to support the minister. When David Cameron became prime minister, he renamed the position to "Minister for Women and Equalities" without a change in its responsibilities. Since its creation, the position has always been held by a minister sitting in Cabinet by virtue of another office (i.e., a Secretary of State or Leader of one of the Houses of Parliament).

Justine Greening replaced Nicky Morgan as both Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities when Theresa May was appointed Prime Minister on 13 July 2016. Morgan initially held the title of Minister for Women after the resignation of Maria Miller in April 2014, in conjunction with being Financial Secretary to the Treasury, whilst the Equalities brief was given to Sajid Javid who had replaced Miller as Secretary of State for Culture. While the Women and Equalities briefs were recombined in July 2014, the responsibility for marriage equality was assigned to Nick Boles, who held the title of Minister of State for Skills, Enterprise and Equalities and had a base in both the Education and Business departments. Both splits in responsibilities were due to Nicky Morgan having voted against the legalisation of gay marriage.[3]

In 2004, Lord Northbourne called for the creation of a minister to concentrate on issues specific to men.[4] This call was repeated by Nick Fletcher in September 2023, to deal with issues such as reducing male suicide, improving paternity rights and tackling misogyny.[5]

A Council of Europe report[6][7] in September 2021 criticised the Minister for Equalities, stating that rhetoric from the minister is in contradiction with international human rights standards and has contributed to a sharp increase in transphobic crimes since 2015.

The two most recent female Prime Ministers, Theresa May and Liz Truss, served in this position.

List of ministers

Minister for Women[edit]

Cabinet minister Junior ministers Term of office Political party Ministry
Harriet Harman
MP for Camberwell and Peckham
Social Security Secretary
Joan Ruddock 3 May 1997 27 July 1998 Labour Blair

(I)

Margaret Jay
Baroness Jay of Paddington
Leader of the House of Lords
Tessa Jowell 27 July 1998 8 June 2001
Patricia Hewitt
MP for Leicester West
Trade and Industry Secretary
Baroness Morgan of Huyton (2001)
Barbara Roche (2001–2003)
Jacqui Smith (2003–2005)
8 June 2001 5 May 2005 Blair

(II)

Tessa Jowell
MP for Dulwich and West Norwood
Minister for the Olympics
Meg Munn 5 May 2005 5 May 2006 Blair

(III)

Ruth Kelly
MP for Bolton West
Communities and Local Govt. Secretary
5 May 2006 28 June 2007

Minister for Women and Equality[edit]

Cabinet Minister Junior ministers Term of office Political party Ministry
Harriet Harman
MP for Camberwell and Peckham
Leader of the House of Commons
Minister of State:
Maria Eagle (2009–2010) (jointly with the Ministry of Justice)
Parliamentary Secretary:
Barbara Follett (2007–2008)
Maria Eagle (2008–2009)
Michael Foster (2009–2010)
28 June 2007 11 May 2010 Labour Brown

Minister for Women and Equalities[edit]

Cabinet Minister Parliamentary Secretary Term of office Political party Ministry
Theresa May
MP for Maidenhead
Home Secretary
Lynne Featherstone (LD) 12 May 2010 4 September 2012 Coalition
(ConsLD)
Cameron-Clegg)
Maria Miller
MP for Basingstoke
Culture Secretary
Jo Swinson (LD)
Helen Grant (Cons)
4 September 2012 9 April 2014

Ministers for Women and Minister for Equalities[edit]

Cabinet Ministers Junior ministers Term of office Political party Ministry
Women
Nicky Morgan
MP for Loughborough
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Jo Swinson (LD)
Helen Grant (Cons)
9 April 2014 15 July 2014 Coalition
(ConsLD)
Cameron-Clegg
Equalities
Sajid Javid
MP for Bromsgrove
Culture Secretary

Minister for Women and Equalities[edit]

Cabinet Minister Junior ministers Term of office Political party Ministry
Nicky Morgan
MP for Loughborough
Secretary of State for Education
Jo Swinson (LD)
Helen Grant (Cons)
15 July 2014 8 May 2015 Coalition
(ConsLD)
Cameron-Clegg
Caroline Dinenage 8 May 2015 14 July 2016 Conservative Cameron
(II)
Justine Greening
MP for Putney
Secretary of State for Education
14 July 2016 14 June 2017 May
(I)
Nick Gibb (Equalities)
Anne Milton (Women)
14 June 2017 8 January 2018 May
(II)
Amber Rudd
MP for Hastings and Rye
Home Secretary
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Equalities)
Victoria Atkins (Women)
9 January 2018 30 April 2018
Penny Mordaunt
MP for Portsmouth North
International Development Secretary
Defence Secretary
30 April 2018 24 July 2019
Amber Rudd
MP for Hastings and Rye
Work and Pensions Secretary
24 July 2019 7 September 2019 Johnson
(I)
Liz Truss
MP for South West Norfolk
Foreign Secretary
10 September 2019 14 February 2020
Kemi Badenoch (Equalities) (until 6 July 2022)

Mike Freer (Equalities) (16 September 2021 – 6 July 2022)
Amanda Solloway (Equalities)
(8 July 2022 – 20 September 2022)
Baroness Berridge (Women) (
until 17 September 2021)
Baroness Stedman-Scott (Women) (
17 September 2021 – 22 September 2022)

14 February 2020 6 September 2022 Johnson
(II)

Minister for Equalities[edit]

Cabinet Minister Junior ministers Term of office Political party Ministry
Nadhim Zahawi
MP for Stratford-on-Avon
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
Katherine Fletcher (Women)
Baroness Stedman-Scott (Equalities)
6 September 2022 25 October 2022 Conservative Truss

Minister for Women and Equalities[edit]

Cabinet Minister Junior ministers Term of office Political party Ministry
Kemi Badenoch
MP for Saffron Walden
Secretary of State for International Trade
Stuart Andrew (Equalities)
Maria Caulfield (Women)
25 October 2022 Incumbent Conservative Sunak

See also

References

  1. ^ Abrams, Fran (4 June 1997). "Harman heads team to put women's issues first". The Independent. Archived from the original on 15 May 2022. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  2. ^ "The Transfer of Functions (Equality) Order 2007". legislation.gov.uk. 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  3. ^ Mason, Rowena (15 July 2014). "Nicky Morgan's gay-marriage stance causes equalities role confusion... again". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  4. ^ "FHM: For Him Minister?". BBC News Online. 3 March 2004. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Sunak urged to appoint minister for men". The Times. 6 September 2023. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  6. ^ "Combating rising hate against LGBTI people in Europe". 17 December 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  7. ^ "Committee highlights rise in hatred against LGBTI people". 23 September 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2023.