In an exclusive interview with the Evening Standard, Minister for Women Elizabeth Berridge said her role was still needed because “we are not where we want to be”.
She also told of her background, which was not typical of a Tory minister, revealing that she had to look after herself at the age of 16 following a family breakdown.
Asked if there should be more women in the Cabinet, Baroness Berridge said: “I want women to be there on merit.”
She added: “Every organisation whether it is a community group or a golf club or work places we all need that challenge to keep our focus on this and that’s why we still need a Minister for Women because we are not where we want to be.
“We’ve just got to keep challenging ourselves a workplaces have…to make sure that we notice when actually the woman isn’t here or there’s not a woman around the table.”
Pressed if she wanted to see Boris Johnson promote women at the next reshuffle she added: “Of course I want to see women there on merit, I want to see anybody there on merit, yes definitely.”
The Prime Minister has previously hinted in an interview with the Standard that we will see “women moving up”. A number of female ministers have been tipped for promotion in the next reshuffle.
During her interview, the former barrister, 48, also said that some peers were “perplexed” by her when she entered the House of Lords 10 years ago.
She said she faced “bizarre” experiences including one Lord who she was excited to meet at an event but he introduced her to his wife instead.
She added: “I did have to really take deep breaths sometimes”.
But she also spoke out about the reaction of older women saying: “The only time I cried at work in the Lords was as a result of an older female peer.”
She added: “There were one or two who I think thought I was too young. They had been the voice on certain things and here I was. One or two of them were ‘unwelcoming’ is putting it politely.”
The minister also revealed candid details about her teenage years, including how she had to support herself and was at risk of homelessness before her A-levels.
She added: “You have to survive. It is very much that survival instinct. I knew if I apply myself, this is my way out to survival.”
She praised the opportunities she was given thanks to tutors and a scholarship which made her want to help other women, adding: “I realise I’m in a very privileged place.”