Minister for Women and Equalities

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Minister for Women and Equalities
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Royal Arms as used by Her Majesty's Government
Official portrait of Amber Rudd.jpg
Amber Rudd

since 8 January 2018
Government Equalities Office
Style The Right Honourable
Appointer Elizabeth II
Inaugural holder Harriet Harman
Formation 3 May 1997; 20 years ago (1997-05-03) (Minister for Women)

The post of Minister for Women and Equalities (formerly, Minister for Women, and Minister for Women and Equality) is a ministerial position in the United Kingdom Government Equalities Office, an independent department within the wider Department for Education that has responsibility for addressing all forms of discrimination, with particular emphasis on gender inequality.


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 gave the position its current name 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]

Lord Northbourne has called for the creation of a minister to concentrate on issues specific to men.[4]

List of ministers[edit]

Minister for Women[edit]

Cabinet minister Junior minister Term of office Political party Prime minister
Harriet Harman
(also Social Security Secretary)
Harriet Harman (cropped).jpg Joan Ruddock 3 May 1997 27 July 1998 Labour Tony Blair
The Lady Jay
(also Leader of the House of Lords)
Baroness Jay of Paddington.jpg Tessa Jowell 27 July 1998 8 June 2001 Labour
Patricia Hewitt
(also Trade and Industry Secretary)
Patricia Hewitt.jpg The Lady Morgan (2001)
Barbara Roche (2001–03)
Jacqui Smith (2003–05)
8 June 2001 5 May 2005 Labour
Tessa Jowell
(also Minister for the Olympics)
Tessa Jowell Jan 2007.jpg Meg Munn 5 May 2005 5 May 2006 Labour
Ruth Kelly
(also Communities and Local Govt. Secretary)
RuthKellyMP.jpg 5 May 2006 27 June 2007 Labour

Minister for Women and Equality[edit]

Cabinet Minister Juniors Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Harriet Harman
(also Leader of the House of Commons)
Harriet Harman (cropped).jpg Minister of State:
Barbara Follett (2007–08)
Maria Eagle (2008–10)
Parliamentary Secretary:
Michael Foster
28 June 2007 11 May 2010 Labour Gordon Brown

Minister for Women and Equalities[edit]

Cabinet Minister Parliamentary Secretary Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Theresa May
(also Home Secretary)
Theresa May - Home Secretary and minister for women and equality.jpg Lynne Featherstone (LD) 12 May 2010 4 September 2012 Coalition
David Cameron
Maria Miller
(also Culture Secretary)
Official portrait of Mrs Maria Miller crop 2.jpg Jo Swinson (LD)
Helen Grant (Cons)
4 September 2012 9 April 2014
Minister for Women

Nicky Morgan
(also Financial Secretary to the Treasury)

Minister for Equalities

Sajid Javid
(also Culture Secretary)

Official portrait of Nicky Morgan crop 2.jpg

Sajid Javid Secretary of State.jpg
9 April 2014 15 July 2014
Nicky Morgan
(also Secretary of State for Education)
Official portrait of Nicky Morgan crop 2.jpg 15 July 2014 8 May 2015
Caroline Dinenage 8 May 2015 14 July 2016 Conservative David Cameron
Justine Greening
(also Secretary of State for Education)
Official portrait of Justine Greening crop 2.jpg 14 July 2016 14 June 2017 Conservative Theresa May
Nick Gibb (Minister for Equalities) Anne Milton (Minister for Women) 14 June 2017 8 January 2018 Conservative Theresa May
Amber Rudd
(also Home Secretary)
Official portrait of Amber Rudd crop 2.jpg
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Minister for Equalities) Victoria Atkins (Minister for Women) 9 January 2018 Incumbents Conservative Theresa May

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Abrams, Fran (4 June 1997). "Harman heads team to put women's issues first". The Independent. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Transfer of Functions (Equality) Order 2007". 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.