Men are showing their support for the newly formed Women’s Equality Party (WEP), because “gender equality is good for the economy, for business, for society” according to the party’s president Catherine Mayer.
The WEP is quickly becoming Britain’s fastest growing political party already spawning 65 branches in less than a year, and thousands of members every month.
Lette asked Mayer if she can see David Cameron being sympathetic to the WEP: “The reason men should and will and are already supporting this party is because gender equality is good for the economy, for business, for society,” replied Mayer.
“We have a bit of work to get them past the name. Luckily there’s a lot of research that will show how much wealthier this country will be. Wouldn’t it be good if Britain defined itself as the first place anywhere in the world to bring about true gender equality?”
Mayer said her and BBC personality Sandi Toksvig launched the party “accidentally”.
The American-born, British journalist said: “Did you know there are more male MPs in Parliament now than there have ever been female MPs? We started this party accidentally.”
Mayer said the idea for the party came from meeting with female MPs in London last year: “We were talking about what parties could do for women and it became very obvious that no one had faith in those women MPs to deliver change. And yet there we all were, agreeing and being collegiate.”
She said they agreed that the only language political parties understands is the power of the ballot box: “So I stood up and said maybe the way to move things forward is to do for gender equality what UKIP did for the immigration debate. Okay, it’s not an obvious comparison but if you have an issue that appeals to voters, you can then grab attention of the mainstream parties.
“So I rang Sandi and she had had the same idea. So we thought we’d grab the attention of the mainstream parties and if they steal our policies, if they want to sound more like us, which is what they did with UKIP – well it’s a win either way for us because gender equality goes to the top of the agenda.”
Mayer said the six major aims of WEP’s policy are to focus on equal pay, equality of education, equality in responsibility for parenting and care-giving, equal representation by and for women in the media, and an end to violence against women.
“These are not women’s issues, they are people issues. We are also resolutely non-partisan. We will work with anyone, any party who wants gender equality and we allow our members to be members of other political parties,” she added.
Mayer admitted that the pace of change for gender equality has been slow so far: “We have had some fantastic women’s groups doing great work but the pace of change has been so slow, glacial in fact,” she said.