Barbara Castle would always have been one of my inspirational figures. I grew up in a household where being awkward and passionate were valued qualities, if not the source of numerous arguments. A trailblazing firebrand, what exactly isn’t to like? I admired just about everything about her, from her politics, to her unwillingness to suffer fools, and the way she wouldn’t be bound by convention on how women should live their lives. (The Daily Mail would have been choking itself on a daily basis over her). Many of the policies she drove through are still impacting on and improving women and their families’ lives – the introduction of the breathalyser, the seatbelt, equal pay, pensions reform, free family planning clinics, and child benefit – critically, and pioneeringly, paid to women.