Harini Iyengar is a most suitable person to stand as a candidate for the Greater London Authority representing the Women’s’ Equality Party.
Harini has the experience of single parenthood, and of dealing with equality pay cases and anti-discrimination. She knows the public does not recognise the half of what goes on in the way of discrimination.
Men and families – all benefit from a more equal society.
“Since 1999, I’ve been a barrister, specialising in anti-discrimination, sexual harassment, and equal pay cases. I work full-time and care for my three children as a single parent. I care about the world we offer to young people.”
Equal parenting and caregiving
“We were a bit of a funny family because my dad was involved in the childcare. He would take time off to look after us kids, but it was a secret between him and his secretary. He would be looked down on or there would be a huge stigma. Other men would take time to go and play golf, or go off for lunch and never come back and he wanted to look after the kids, while my mum worked as a GP.”
“My role model was my mum, who worked as a doctor. She had a post-graduate degree in childcare, but she wasn’t able to get the opportunities she wanted here. It was difficult for an Indian doctor. So she set up her own independent practice, and she would be one of the last family practices, knowing everyone in the community.”
“My dad was the person who remained as an employee, with the security of that pension and structure and supported my mother to set up her own business.”
“I have two sons and I do think about British masculinity. They’re not necessarily able to display their paternal side, and I think that’s a shame.”
WEP urges an education system that creates opportunities for all children
“We were very, very lucky at our school. Careers support was excellent, we had set times for careers. We had a lot of excellent teachers. My school has a reputation for promoting sciences. However, I wanted to be an astronaut and travel into space from the age of nine to 16, but when I put down my options I was told I couldn’t do that. I had to choose between maths and science.“ The role models for Astronomy were neither glamorous nor interesting, so Harini chose arts.
“It is important to go back and remember what it is like to be a teenage girl, so I chose arts, but I look back and think, might I have been in Tim Peake’s shoes? I think that the whole question of girls in STEM is vital for the economy and for individual girls.”
“The really serious consequence of the under-representation of women in politics is that the impact of all these austerity cuts, upon women, has not been properly considered.”
“When you have a law, made by similar kinds of men of similar social class, having them then consider it in Parliament – again the same kind of people, in Committee, and again in the High Court – is not the same as representing women‘s diverse interest in the political process itself”
As a lawyer, Harini has a wealth of experience to draw on when she makes this statement, as the bulk of her cases have been around sex discrimination and Equality issues.
“I do believe that, when we have equal numbers of men and women, it changes the culture”