Forget Ed and David Miliband - Paula Sherriff and her sister Lee could be Labour’s next sibling set in Parliament.
Paula, who is fighting to become Dewsbury and Mirfield’s next MP, spoke to the Reporter in celebration of International Women’s Day, which takes place on Saturday.
The 38-year-old former healthcare worker was selected as parliamentary candidate last year, and said she would “keep fighting for women’s equality and principles” in the area - something that her older sister Lee Sherriff also believes in.
She was selected as Labour candidate in Carlisle on the same day Paula won her Dewsbury nomination, and both sisters were politicised from a young age, as their parents always made them aware of social issues.
“Lee and I had strong female role models throughout our lives. We are both incredibly passionate about social justice, equality of opportunity, and we are determined to see a fairer society,” she explained.
As a women in politics Paula said it was important to have a more representative Parliament but was proud of her party for empowering more women from diverse backgrounds, like her sister Lee, a single mum who dedicated her previous career to adult social care.
“Our real life experience is invaluable,” she said.
Asked what advice she would give women in the area Paula said: “If you have a passion don’t give up. Find a strong mentor who can support you. Yorkshire has some amazing women influences.”
Among her inspirations for International Women’s Day Paula counts hospital registrar Dr Kate Granger, a terminally ill cancer patient from East Ardsley who started a campaign to encourages healthcare professionals to interact better with patients.
“I find Kate’s passion to improve the patient experience absolutely inspiring.” said Paula. “Kate is terminally ill but still desires to help people.”
Paula warned that the current government’s austerity measures hit women the hardest. She said the government should focus on access to childcare rather than tax cuts to millionaires.
“Women want to play a part in society but we need to government to support them to do that,” she said.
If elected, Paula plans to set up a women’s forum, which she hopes would help local women find a voice.
International Women’s Day was first observed in the 1900s and takes place on March 8.