THE government is being criticised for deciding to include just two women in the new UK passport design.
The latest passport pages include cultural figures and landmarks of the past 500 years, such as Shakespeare and the Angel of the North. The only women to be featured in the new UK passport are Architect Elizabeth Scott and computer programmer Ada Lovelace.
The new passport was launched by the Minister for Immigration James Brokenshire, at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London. Representatives from the Passport Office also joined him for the launch. When questioned about the lack of women in the new design, government officials defended their decision at a press conference. Mr Brokenshire said: “There’s always someone who wants their favourite rock band or icon in the book.”
Beatrix Potter, Jane Austen, the Brontes, Hilary Mantel and Tracey Emin are some of the suggestions for famous women that could have been featured in the new passport. At the press conference, Mark Thomson, director general at the Passport Office said, the decision to include two women and seven men was signed off by ministers, and the figures included in the passport were a “good representation” of artists and designers.
In a tweet, Labour’s shadow employment secretary Emily Thornberry said: “Here we go again – new UK passport has 7 men featured and just 2 women. We exist.”
Speaking to the BBC, Ms Thornberry said: “This is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women as well. We have had this fight about bank notes and now it’s about passports.
“I just feel as though we are here all over again”, she said.