‘Never let gender be used as a barrier’ - cabinet minister Elizabeth Truss’ inspiring message to Thetford Academy students

Secretary of State for Justice and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss visited Thetford Academy to

Secretary of State for Justice and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss visited Thetford Academy to talk to sixth form students about her role. Pictured with students and principal Kevin Blakey. Picture: Angela Sharpe - Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography

'Never let gender or background be used as a barrier when making career choices' - that was Lord Chancellor Elizabeth Truss' inspiring message to students as she tackled the issue of sexism head-on during a visit to a Norfolk school.

Secretary of State for Justice and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss visited Thetford Academy to

Secretary of State for Justice and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss visited Thetford Academy to talk to sixth form students about her role. Pictured with students and principal Kevin Blakey. Picture: Angela Sharpe - Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography

The justice secretary gave the motivating speech to students at Thetford Academy as she spoke about how her early experiences of sexism inspired her to break gender barriers in her political career.

Ms Truss, the UK's first female Lord Chancellor, spoke about going on an plane with her family as child, when was outraged to be offered a badge saying 'junior air hostess' while her brothers were given 'junior pilot'.

She told the audience of government and politics, history and business studies students that she was 'so annoyed'.

Ms Truss graduated from Oxford University in 1996 and started to work in business - but told the teenagers she soon realised her true passion was politics because she found it 'fascinating' and she 'wanted to change things'.

Secretary of State for Justice and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss visited Thetford Academy to

Secretary of State for Justice and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss visited Thetford Academy to talk to sixth form students about her role. Pictured with students and principal Kevin Blakey. Picture: Angela Sharpe - Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography


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In 2010 she was elected as Conservative MP for South West Norfolk and worked as schools minister and environment secretary before becoming justice secretary in 2016.

Ms Truss told the youngsters: 'When you get the call from the prime minister, you have no idea what job you're going to get. So when Theresa May told me: 'I've decided to make you the first female Lord Chancellor,' I was delighted.'

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She added: 'I was delighted to visit the school and chat to the sixth formers.

'My message to the students is never let gender or background be used as a barrier when making career choices.

'Confident use of maths and English are vital for future employment opportunities.'

Thetford Academy principal Kevin Blakey said: 'It was fantastic for our sixth formers to meet Ms Truss and get an insider's insight into what it's like to have a successful career in politics.

'Her appointment as Lord Chancellor shows that it's possible to achieve your highest aspirations if you are determined and work hard, which is a great inspiration for our students.'

Have you got a story from your community? Email reporter Rebecca Murphy on rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

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