A party focused on gender equality? About time.

The Women's Equality Party was founded a year ago, fuelled by frustration at listening to the same old arguments but not seeing any change


The Women’s Equality Party (WE) was founded on International Women’s Day 2015 amid the frustration of listening to the same old arguments about gender equality over and over, with not much changing.

One year later WE find ourselves at a tipping point. With over 45,000 members and supporters, WE are fielding candidates for election in the May Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the London GLA and Mayoral races.

In Scotland, we have a smart and savvy population who, post-referendum, feel they can change their future through politics and who are no longer willing to wait for the old parties to deliver on gender equality.

A wait that would see our grandchildren bearing children before gender equality is achieved. This is why WE exists. We have six main areas of policy focus.

Young women want to know they will be paid the same as men when entering work and that they can mix a successful career with raising children. They look at Scandinavia and see that it’s possible and don’t understand why it is so hard here. WE don’t understand that either. WE expect equal pay and an equal opportunity to thrive. 

Young men want to know they will be able to be good fathers through being able to take time off. They don’t understand why they are often excluded from family life.

Women don’t want to be the ones automatically expected to bear the burden of caring responsibilities. WE are campaigning for equal parenting and caregiving and shared responsibilities at home to give everyone equal opportunities both in family life and in the workplace. 

Young women want to open magazines and see images that focus on their strengths and capabilities, not be bombarded with air brushed, fake portrayals of women as objects which sap self-esteem and create unrealistic expectations.

No longer do they want to see sexualized images of women next to articles on sexual violence. Girls want to know action will be taken on social media hate, like revenge porn. WE strive for equal treatment of women by and in the media.

Take your kids to the toy shop and you are presented with an array of pink and blue items chosen to support outdated gender stereotypes.

WE want girls to know they can be astronauts and train drivers as well as fairies and princesses. We want boys to be able to play with dolls without fear of mockery.

We want children to learn from male teachers as well as female. We want children to learn about how to form healthy relationship and be safe online. WE urge an education system that creates opportunities for all children and an understanding of why this matters. 

Still, the majority of people making political decisions in the UK are men. Women are half the population and half our legislators should be too. The bulk of CEOs are men, the majority of ‘experts’ called on for comment on TV or radio are men.

We want quotas for parliament and business. WE are tired of waiting.

WE are pushing for equal representation in politics, business, industry and throughout working life.

One in four women will be a victim of domestic assault in her lifetime in this country. 70 per cent of women aged 11-21 experienced sexual harassment in education. Our children don’t want to be harassed on the street, cat called, groped on public transport.

Women fleeing abuse need safe refuge. Prosecutions need to go up, specialist support for BME women needs to increase. WE want to create a country where women and girls can be free from men’s violence. WE seek an end to violence against women. 

These are the reasons the Women’s Equality Party exists and the reason men and women we meet on the street in Scotland say:

‘A party focused on gender equality? About time.’

Lee Chalmers is the number one Lothian list candidate for the Women’s Equality Party. Find her on Twitter.

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