‘It’s important not to let barriers get in the way’, says Theresa May on sexism

She spoke exclusively to the ST magazine this weekend

Although for most of us, Theresa May is the first female PM we’ve seen in our lifetime (and only the second one ever), though we don’t actually know much about her just yet.

Except for her penchant for snazzy footwear and slit skirts, that is. But this weekend she opened up in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Times magazine, where she spoke about sexism in politics and how much she felt being a woman affected her journey to the top (turns out, not a lot). She said:

My parents’ approach was very much ‘whatever you do, always aim to be the best’. There was never any suggestion that because I was a girl there were things I couldn’t do. So I was brought up in that atmosphere of wanting to go out and do it, and do your best and make the most of your opportunities. It was always ‘believe in yourself and don’t be put down by people around you. You have to be true to yourself’.

It’s important not to allow barriers to get in the way. If you want to do something, then really go out there and try and do it. I always took a view when I was going through the selection process that I should never think I’d failed a selection because I was a woman. I should always ask myself – which subjects did I not know so much about? Which questions did I answer badly? How can I improve? Rather than thinking it was about being a woman. It’s important for women and girls to be themselves and to be confident about what they want to do.

Although Theresa effectively dismissed the idea that she was disadvantaged as a woman, reporter Eleanor Mills, who sat down with the PM for this exclusive interview, adds: “Tellingly though, once in Parliament she quietly co-founded Women2Win, an organisation that mentors wannabe female MPs through the selection process. That is very May: don’t whinge, organise. Change the system.”

She also spoke about her husband Philip, who has effectively become a sort of consort, a First Husband, and how difficult she expected it was for him: “I hope it’s getting easier than it used to be.

“We don’t want a situation where we feel it’s really difficult to be a man if a woman happens to be Prime Minister.”

Overall though, she’s still a bit of a mystery.