Sunday, September 9, 2012

Helen Grant first black female Conservative Minister in the UK


Helen Grant MP has been made a Minister in David Cameron’s Ministerial reshuffle this September. She is now the first Conservative woman of African descent to become a Minister.

Grant, 50, was born in London to an English mother and Nigerian father, but grew up in a single parent family after her parents separated and her father emigrated to the United States.

According to OBV, The Maidstone and Weald MP has been appointed joint Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice and for women’s and equality issues.
Accepting the appoint Helen Grant MP once again makes political history by becoming the first Conservative woman of African descent to become a Minister.

A lawyer by profession, her knowledge and skills will be brought to bear in a government department dealing with the nation's legal issues. Grant has not been afraid to challenge her own Government on issues she believes in. She fiercely, but politely, urged the Government to think again in regards to dropping certain aspects of Legal Aid.

As Grant takes up her Ministerial role, the demands and pressure on her have got that much higher. We at OBV are extremely proud of her success and the positive message her appointment sends out to Black women across the country.

Helen Grant was chosen by OBV to join our MP Shadowing Scheme in 2006. She was twinned with Oliver Letwin MP

List of Black Cabinet members in Europe

1902-1905 : Abraham George Ellis (The Netherlands) - from Suriname, Minister of Navy.
2001 – 2002 : Paul Boateng (UK) - from the UK, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
2002 : Philomena Bijlhout (The Netherlands) - from Suriname, under Secretary of Emancipation (2 hours).
2003 : Baroness Valerie Amos (UK) - from British Guiana (now Guyana), Secretary of State for International Development
2006 to 2010 : Nyamko Sabuni (Norway) - from Congo, Minister for Integration and Gender Equality.
2007 : Manuela Ramin-Osmundsen (Sweden) - from Martinique, Minister for Children and Equality (4 months).
2007 - 2010 : Rama Yade (France) - from Senegal, started as Secretary of State for Human Rights.
2009 - 2012 : Marie-Luce Penchard (France) - from Guadeloupe, Secretary of State for Overseas Territories.
2012 - : Christiane Taubira (France) - from French Guiana, Minister of Justice.
2012 - : George Pau-Langevin (France) - from Guadeloupe, junior Minister for Educational success.
2012 - : Victorin Lurel (France) - from Guadeloupe, Minister of overseas departments.
2012 - : Helen Grant (UK) - From the UK, under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice and for women’s and equality issues.

Check the entire and correct list of Black Cabinet members in Europe here.

What is difference between a Minister and a Secretary in Europe (update).

Minister
In all European countries Ministers are Cabinet Ministers who are the heads of government departments. (In the US a Minister is called a Secretary.)

Secretary
- In the Netherlands a Secretary is the second in command and is called a 'Staatsecretaris'. In the Netherlands a Secretary is a member of the Cabinet.
- In France a Secretary is called a Junior Minister, who is a Minister who assists a Minister of State. A Junior Minister may only attend a cabinet meeting if the topic discussed touches his of hers responsibilities.
- In the UK an under secretary is the second-in-command to a politically appointed Cabinet Minister, but an under secretary is not a member of the Cabinet.



6 Comments:

martinned said...

What happened to Baroness Valerie Amos? Doesn't she count anymore?

Secretary of State for International Development: 2003

Leader of the Lords and President of the Council: 2003-2007

Afro-Europe said...

martinned, thanks!

Nygard said...

Valerie Amos was a minister under the Labour Party of Great Britain. The title here is.. the first black female Conservative Minister in the UK.

Unless matinned had been referring a previous omission of Valerie's name from the List of Black Cabinet members in Europe

Anonymous said...

I do not understand how a mixed race woman suddenly became a "Black woman".
As far as I am concerned, she is as much White as she is Black.
Instead, this article should read that a mixed race woman of African descent became a government minister...

truth2011 said...

She doesn't look mixed race to me. She looks like a black American. And I'm sure she isn't treated like a "mixed raced" or someone "as much white" is treated.

Afro-Europe said...

Anonymous, I think it depends from what perspective you are looking her. Yes, she is mixed race, which means she is black and white. If you wonder how a mixed race woman became a "Black woman", I think you are implying that mixed race is not the same as black. I recall that someone else argued that a mixed race person should be called “white” instead of black.

The problem is that if you would categorise her in this case as a mixed race women, you would also have to exclude her from the list of "black" politicians. In that case she would be the first female mixed race minister of African descent. So you would also have to exclude from the entire movement of political participation of black people in Britain. And that would be incorrect.

But from identity/race perspective you are of course right, Grant is a mixed race woman and thus not only a black woman. But from a community and historical perspective she is regarded as black woman.

And truth2011, you are absolutly right, except for the fact that she looks like an American black woman. She looks very British.

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