The day before International Women’s Day, an impressive group of women were sitting in a packed committee room in the Houses of Parliament.  

All from Tooting, they had been invited by their local MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan for doing inspirational work in the community. From charity volunteers to entrepreneurs to social enterprise starters; three words stood out: Strength, solidarity and support.

Some of the issues raised at the event inspired gasps.

Two women a week in the UK are killed by a partner or former partner. The number of female MPs in the history of Parliament equals the amount of male MPs currently there.

When Dr Allin-Khan was campaigning for her seat the Daily Mail did a false story about her being a swimwear model in the past. They used a cropped photo of her on holidays with her husband. She said although she had to be strong on the outside she was having sleepless nights.

The Tooting MP also said that while campaigning she was told to keep her children out of photographs because it made her look "weak".

Worryingly, none of the MPs in the room had wanted to get to Parliament in the beginning: "I never really wanted to be there. Who would?"

The common thread among them in the end was they all saw injustices and could no longer do nothing.

Dawn Butler, the Shadow Minister for Diverse Communities opened the meeting by giving a little of her past, which included working as a computer programmer. In a male dominated arena, she spoke about having to wear trousers every day because as a woman, if you wore a skirt, men would try to look up it.

She said: "I was sexually harassed on daily basis."

But that is one of the things that inspired her to be an MP- to fight for women experiencing the same. Butler won her seat in Brent by a majority of over 19,000.

The Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Sarah Champion, who in 2014 managed to amend the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill to make it so child groomers can be convicted straight away, addressed the female audience.

She spoke about the Istanbul convention, a Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. It came into force in August 2014 and although the UK signed the convention in 2012, MPs only recently (February 24) voted to ratify it.

Once ratified, the Government must commit to strengthening legal, financial and support services available to victims of violence and abuse.

This would include increasing funding, setting up 24/7 helplines and giving police the power to remove perpetrators of domestic violence from their homes whether they own them or not.

It would also ensure the Government treats gender-based violence as a serious crime, everything from coercive control to female genital mutilation.  

Champion praised the Government for the work they do when it comes to protecting women and children but said it needed to do more work on the ground. The Istanbul Convention would ensure this.

She said that is what you need when "you’re freaking out at three in the morning".The Rotherham MP added it is essential the convention be ratified when "two women a week die from a partner or former partner".

The shadow minister spoke about the importance of diversity in politics, urging women to become engaged with their parties.

She said: "If there was ever a time to step up, it’s now."

The women were urged to speak about their experiences of gender inequality. Emotively, musician and co-founder of The Sound Lounge, Hannah White, spoke about an incident when she was travelling back from a holiday in France.

She was with her partner and two children, both of whom do not share her surname because they are from previous relationships. Hannah was brought off by security because they said she "fit the profile" of a drug trafficker. She questioned why we are defined by our circumstances because they are just that- circumstances.

She said: "For everyone else they are more than that. They are who I am. You are defined by so many things. It’s a shame that it’s so important."

Of the women who intended, which included long-term volunteers for charity Beanstalk Monique Roseberg and Tricia Ross, Vegan Express owner Ulrika Diallo, Siobhan Totterdalu and Natasha Best of social enterprise Trident Business Centre, they all shared the same aim: Making the UK a better place.

This is encouraging because there is still a long way to go. Although women make up 47 per cent of the UK workforce, women are still paid less than men, the gender pay gap being nearly 20 per cent.

Women currently make approximately 80 per cent of men’s average hourly wages and among the top 10 per cent earners, the majority are men.

However, it is not for the lack of ability. According to the latest figures, 64 per cent of girls achieve five or more GCSEs at grade A to C or equivalent, compared to 54 per cent of boys.

Of the proportion of first degree graduates, 57 per cent are women.

This event showed that things are changing; the atmosphere in the room was one of power and anticipation. It reflected the theme of this year’s IWD: Be Bold for Change.