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Sophie Walker - Women's Equality Leader

A profile of WE's candidate in the election for Mayor of London on 5th May

 

Why would you give up a 20-year career as a journalist writing about politics, business and finance, including a job with international news agency Reuters - for what The Guardian describes as a non-existent chance to become Mayor of London in the election on Thursday 5th May?

 

“Because if you want to see diversity, you have to get out there and be it,” says Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party (WE) and its candidate in next week’s mayoral election.

 

“My friends and I are still having the same conversation around my table that my mother and her friends used to have around hers,” she wrote last year. “They used to talk about women’s equality. Now we’re talking about women’s equality. And still, we’re only talking about it, rather than having it.”

 

Founded only 12 months ago by author and journalist Catherine Mayer and broadcaster, author (and future QI host) Sandi Toksvig, WE already has 45,000 members and supporters. You can find about more about the party in our interview with Jo Shaw, one of the party’s candidates for the London Assembly.

 

Other politicians didn’t talk, or seem to care, about her needs as both a woman fighting for equal pay, equal work opportunity and shared parenting and as the mother of an autistic daughter. “During the last election… The issues that affect my life were presented as though they belonged to a special interest group rather than half the population,” she has written. “And I thought: I couldn’t bear it if my daughters ended up as the third generation to have the same kitchen conversation.

 

“Then I heard that Catherine Mayer and Sandi Toksvig had formed the Women’s Equality Party. I shouted out ‘Yes!’ at my desk as I read the news. I picked up the phone to ask what I could do to help… This is now my day job – leading a party campaigning to bring about equal rights for the entire population so that a fairer society will flourish. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”

 

WE has 6 key objectives as a party:

  • Equal representation in Parliament
  • Equal pay and opportunities between the sexes
  • Equal educational opportunities free from limiting gender expectations
  • Equal media treatment. A cultural change is required before equality can be achieved.
  • Equal parenting and caregiving rights between the sexes
  • Ending violence against women and making it totally culturally unacceptable

 

The WE also has candidates standing in the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and London Assembly elections on Thursday 5th May. You can find out more about WE, its candidates and policies on the party's website.

 

Image via WE credit: Fiona Hanson

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