The Women’s Equality Party, the political movement founded by broadcaster and author Sandi Toksvig earlier this year, is staging its Croydon branch launch on October 24.
Cleverly adopting the hashtag #WE and co-ordinating its activities around key centenaries of the Suffrage movement, as well as the publicity surrounding the Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep movie Suffragette – the new party’s logo is coloured in the same purple and green of the historic Pankhurst-led organisation – the launch promises to reveal the party’s national policy.
“We will talk about the aims and objectives of WEP, answer questions about how we intend to engage locally and nationally, and network over refreshments,” Gillian Manly, the local organiser, said.
“The Women’s Equality Party is a new collaborative force in British politics uniting people of all genders, diverse ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs and experiences in the shared determination to see women enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men so that all can flourish.”
Toksvig and Catherine Mayer, the journalist and biographer of Prince Charles, agreed to form the party after the Women of the World Festival in March. In July, after publishing founding principles and opening for membership, WEP announced that its first leader would be Sophie Walker, prior to a leadership election among the membership in 2016.
“Equality for women isn’t a women’s issue,” Manly, a South Norwood resident, said.
“When women fulfill their potential, everyone benefits. Equality means better politics, a more vibrant economy, a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population and a society at ease with itself.”
Manley cites the continuing statistics of inequality: “Although women make up 51 per cent of the population, they are only 30 per cent of MPs, 25 per cent of judges, while 21 per cent of FTSE 100 company directors are female.
“Around 1.2 million women suffer domestic abuse a year and nearly half a million people are sexually assaulted. Conviction rates are low.
“Although at school girls outperform boys in every mainstream GCSE subject other than maths, and young women make up 57 per cent of first degree university graduates, somewhere along their career path, women fall behind…
“Over the years some progress has been made. But we need to up the pace of change. We need to seize every opportunity – at home, at work or in the media – to make the case for equality.
“Unleashing women’s full potential could add 10 per cent, or more than £150 billion, to our GDP by 2030 if all the women that wanted to work did so.
“Closing the gender pay gap would increase revenue from income tax and National Insurance while reducing payments in tax credits. It would also boost women’s spending power across the wider economy.
“WE will set out the case for change. We will work together to finally bring an end to the injustices women still face and to unleash the enormous potential women offer, to the benefit of everybody.
“WE are proud to focus on equality for women and also understand that there are many forms of inequality. WE will ensure our party and policies are informed by the views and experiences of those doubly or trebly disadvantaged, by their gender and by other factors such as ethnicity, age or disability.
“WE will bring about change by winning—support, votes and seats. WE do not try to present ourselves as a party with an answer on every issue and a full palette of policies and will never take a party line on issues outside our remit: to bring about equality for women.
“WE are a focused mainstream party and WE will not stop until all other mainstream parties embrace and adopt our agenda of equality – and take action to achieve it.”
The Croydon launch event is on Saturday October 24 at 10.30am at the Zakia Family Centre, 166 St James’s Road. Croydon CR0 2UZ.
For further party information: https://womensequality.org.uk/
For local branch contact, email: Wep.email@example.com
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