Yesterday I was invited to the shortlist for the Women’s Equality Party list of candidates for the Greater London Assembly Election. Here’s what I said at the assessment session…
Please join us as part of WEP – there’s no better time than now to make change. You can do that here https://www.womensequality.org.uk/join_to_vote Join by 30th March and voting closes 31st March (votes only for London members). And please, vote for me to be No1 on the list. #RMJ4GLA
Representing the Women’s Equality Party has been one of my most rewarding and life-affirming experiences. It’s fun, hard work, a huge honour. I’ve done it 3 times: as 2016 GLA list candidate and as WEP’s first-ever local council candidate getting 7% of the vote, and in 2018 in Ladywell 26.1% of voters. I’ve been a WEP member since the beginning and I’m one of our most active activists, in my branch, Lewisham, and as Spokesperson for Equal Health and member of the Policy Committee.
My professional background is theatre: writing, directing producing and my work has been cited by Arts Council England as model of good practice for inclusion and diversity. I’ve worked in major theatres, and created socially-engaged touring productions with grass roots communities. I’m comfortable engaging with stakeholders ranging from politicians, to business to local interest and disenfranchised groups, convening discussions, making policy, negotiating.
I’ve lived in London for 20 years and worked in half its boroughs. Locally I’m a school governor as safeguarding lead and I see the inequalities that women encounter. I want to be part of making London the first gender-equal city and will work with our GLA list to make that happen for 2020.
I’ve spent my career putting other people on stage, making them the best that they could be. I’ve created thousands of opportunities for people from under-represented groups to participate in and influence London’s cultural life. I’ve led organisations and advocated for them with local government, secretaries of state, public funders …
but it wasn’t until The Women’s Equality Party that I could speak as myself about changing the system for women and girls. That I could speak about Equality: about the dignity, the safety, the body autonomy, the respect for and the amazing untapped potential of, the fundamental and what should be OBVIOUS rights of 51% of London’s population.
WEP’s close result in the GLA in 2016 spurred me on to stand as WEP’s first-ever council candidate, getting 7% in Brockley, followed by over 1 in 4 voters voting for me and WEP in Lewisham, Ladywell in 2018. (1186 votes the best numerical result).
I’m effective, dedicated and I want to keep developing my craft, working with other candidates.
Representation matters. I build teams with some familiarity and some fresh influences, with a range of backgrounds and experience. I’m offering commitment, resilience and a love & knowledge of London.
I’m a girls’ school governor, a safeguarding lead and our health spokesperson. To me these are all connected – & I want to see London valuing its women and girls, and to do that it has to see their lives in full.
It has to recognise the needs of girls who are being groomed and subject to sexual exploitation, not look on in shock when they’re passports are removed;
it has to know that 1 in 5 victims of knife crime is female;
It needs to stop its female population languishing in greater poverty, at risk of domestic violence and/or ill-health – because accessing reduced, fractured services is harder and harder if you have caring responsibilities, or the further you start from being white, straight, able-bodied, neurotypical, cis, young and English-speaking.
I am 51 years old and I’ve finally found what I want to do when I grow up. I want to be an ELECTED representative – But only for the Women’s Equality Party – because of our vision, because we do things differently, because we collaborate, BECAUSE no-one else can do what WE do, and no-one else is coming to make things right.
Once elected, WE can work with other parties to embed gendered policy-making and budget-setting, moving to a progressive, equal, feminist future –
Where London’s women and girls can live, work, study, worship, hang out in safety and freedom.
WE don’t yet have “enough Equality” and I want to Play my part making it happen in GLA 2020.