Women from across the country marched on Westminster on Wednesday 29th June, in protest over pension reforms.
Organised by the group, Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI), the campaigners are protesting against changes to the state pension, meaning women have to wait longer to claim them.
The protestors, nicknamed the WASPI Warriors, staged a rally outside of the Houses of Parliament. The event was organised to coincide with the day that Emmeline Pankhurst with the Suffragettes marched on parliament in 1909.
Members of Parliament joined the thousands of protestors, including SNP MP Mhairi Black, who called MPs who had not attended ‘ignorant’.
Speaking she said, “The very fact that we have managed to galvanise so many women throughout the whole of the UK, to realise that they have a common cause, that they have an injustice that must be fixed, is quite incredible.”
“And while you are all standing outside bearing the rain and making as much noise as you possible can – I know first hand how ignorant some of those people in that building possibly are.”
Anne Keen, co-founder of WASPI said, “It has been an amazing day and we very much hope that the Government finally take notice of all these thousands of women from all over the UK who are representing so many thousands of other women who did not have the means, were too unwell, or had caring duties which prevented them from joining the protest.”
“The time has come for the Government to move this issue forward. We are committed to fight on until we achieve a fair outcome!”
In September 2015, the government announced its plans for a flat rate pension, which was expected to give recipients around £148 a week.
However, the news was branded as a ‘double betrayal’ for women due also to a rise in women’s retirement age. Women are having to work for longer and are now receiving less money in return.
The change affects women born on or after 5 April 1951 and moves the claimant age from 60 to 66. Many women are arguing that they were not given enough notice of the changes to allow them to prepare.
WASPI was created to campaign against the changes to the state pension, which they call an ‘injustice’. They aim to achieve ‘fair transitional state pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s.’ They are not against equalisation and do not ask for the age to be reverted back to 60.