UK employment minister Priti Patel has said that an increasing number of British-Indian women are entering politics. Patel was speaking during a visit to India as the first British minister to visit the country in 2016.
Patel noted that the Indian community in the UK are becoming more involved in the UK public sector, with the youth taking centre stage. The Conservative party minister has been the MP of the Essex constituency of Witham since 2010.
"When I first contested in the election and won from my constituency, a political career was quite an unusual choice for a British-Indian young woman. Now it's more normal and we are seeing an increasing number of Asian women in public life. In fact, there are now many Asian women who are becoming councilors," said Patel.
Apart from holding her position as UK's minister of employment, Patel is also the Indian diaspora champion for Prime Minister David Cameron. She spoke about her work engaging with Britain's 1.5 million Indians and said that Indian-origin families were beginning to shred "gender bias" and were now becoming "well integrated socially in the UK", according to the Economic Times.
During her talk in India, Patel also addressed increasing concerns about the decrease in Indian students choosing to study in the UK. Despite the stringent student visa rules in place for Indian students, the employment minister stressed that India was one of the countries receiving the largest number of student visas every year.
"We welcome a large number of students from India to our world-class universities every year and have also increased the number of scholarships that are available to them. Young British Indians are usually very well educated and professionally successful and contribute towards UK's economy in a big way," said Patel.
Patel's visit to India came two months after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UK in November 2015. Patel, who was involved in organising Modi's visit, said that his time in Britain had "showcased the successful collaboration between the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest democracy" and that it had "marked a new era" in the relationship between the two countries.