The leader of the newly founded Women’s Equality Party is expected to launch a scathing attack on the mainstream political parties, in their first manifesto.
Sophie Walker, who was elected as leader in July, will aim to bring gender inequality to the forefront of the political agenda and challenge David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn to “wake up to the real gender pay gap.”
Walker is expected to lament the politicians for the lack of progress within gender equality, saying “Equality is not a manifesto detail to be bickered over. It’s not politicians’ property, to be doled out as they see fit.”
“It seems to me that they are more interested in claiming the right to deliver equality than actually deliver it. Where’s the action? Their only action is to shoot down any other party’s talk about how they might deliver equality – reducing our right to participate to a cynical messaging contest.”
Walker’s speech coincides with the release of the first party manifesto, with the subject of the gender pay gap playing a significant part. The issue has come under an increased scrutiny and media attention of the last few months, with recent figures showing that for every £1 a man earns, a woman will earn just 80p.
In her speech, Walker is expected to say, “It’s time to wake up to the real gender pay gap that sits behind so many of the problems women face. Overall, last year, men earned £516billion, while women earned just £271billion – that’s a difference of £245billion. Why? Because millions of women are being paid less than their male colleagues.”
The party’s policy document also highlights the need for ‘zero tolerance for workplace discrimination’; the need to invest in childcare; to ‘boost women’s pensions’; promoting the need for equal parenting leave; and to encourage women’s education, amongst others.
Walker will continue, “We’re not a special interest party; women are half the population. Equality belongs to us, the political system belongs to us. We’re within our rights to lay claim to both – so that’s what we’re going to do.”
The Women’s Equality Party was founded in March this year by journalist, Catherine Mayer and comedian, Sandi Toksvig. To find out more about the party and its aims, visit their website, Facebook or Twitter pages.
You can download the WEP’s full policy document here.