Tomorrow, London is being given a new choice: the chance to vote for a party that is committed to doing politics differently. The Women’s Equality Party (WE) is a new, non-partisan political party, formed last year and growing with astonishing speed, which is putting gender equality at the top of the political agenda for the benefit of us all.
My name is Kate Massey-Chase and I’m standing as a candidate on the London-wide list for the Greater London Assembly (the orange ballot paper), alongside 9 other inspirational women and Sophie Walker, our leader and mayoral candidate.
I’m not a career politician, and although I’ve always thought of myself as political, the jeering-sneering performance of politics has never appealed. I just don’t think the road to social justice is lined with posh men in suits shouting at each other. I believe in dialogue, communication and empathy; human connections are the building blocks of my world. So I’ve thrown myself into a career which celebrates them, in the arts and education (teaching young refugees English through Drama, running creative workshops with recovering addicts, people with Parkinson’s and people who are HIV+, and talking to teenagers about consent and healthy relationships), trying to carve creative paths to a slightly better world for a few people at a time.
But I’ve unexpectedly, and so naturally I almost didn’t know notice it happening, become a politician; I’ve found a home for that political passion in the Women’s Equality Party, and through that hope to build a much better world for everyone. And tomorrow, registered voters in London have the chance to show their commitment to making London the first gender equal country in the world: at the ballot box.
WE have a vision for London that would make the city safer and fairer for everyone. WE have specific, costed policies which could create:
- A transport system that is accessible for parents with buggies and wheel-chair users, where women and girls can travel safely, without the fear of sexual harassment;
- Protection for women and children escaping domestic abuse, with ring-fenced funding for refuges and safe housing;
- A system of child-care for all children from the end of paid parental leave at 9 months, and a pan-London approach to meet the demand for care for older and disabled people;
- Compulsory, quality Sex and Relationship Education and PSHE, so that the next generation are taught to respect and protect one another;
In a political system stacked against new-comers our voice cannot be heard as loudly as the old parties. WE are fighting to be seen and heard and it can be heart-breakingly, back-breakingly hard. Yet there is a place where smaller, newer, less wealthy parties can succeed, and that is on the orange ballot paper. Tomorrow, we are asking Londoners to give half their votes to WE (one for mayor and one for the London Assembly), because we think that’s fair.
You can still vote for the party you usually vote for, and at the same time know your votes for WE will make London a safer and fairer city for us all. We’d love you to give your first or second preference for mayor to Sophie Walker, but if you only give us one vote, make it on the orange ballot paper, which is the London-wide list for the London Assembly, as that’s the only vote tomorrow that uses a form of proportional representation, so we have a real chance of winning seats.
I’m standing as a candidate because I refuse to keep waiting for inequality to be taken seriously. Because equality is, obviously, better for everyone.
This blog is written by Kate Massey-Chase, A Candidate for the WEP in Londonhttp://www.womensequality.org.uk/kate_massey_chase
To find out more about the WEP and their manifesto http://www.womensequality.org.uk/