by Chantal Coady OBE
“Equality for women isn’t a women’s issue. When women fulfill their potential, everyone benefits. Equality means better politics, a more vibrant economy, a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population and a society at ease with itself.” WEP
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #PledgeForParity, encouraging us to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
This year, I have made my pledge by joining a political party for the very first time. It’s called WE, or the Women’s Equality Party, founded by women and fighting for equality on all levels. Its definitely not anti-men, it’s about equal representation, in parliament, in education, in pay & opportunity and in parenting and caregiving, all of which are far from an even playing field right now. My friend and journalist Catherine Mayer and Sandi Toksvig came up with the idea a couple of years ago and I promised Catherine that I would be one of the first to join, so true to my word here I am standing on my soapbox!
I have been on the electoral register now for almost 40 years, and I always, always use my vote. Women fought so hard to get a vote, and I believe it is the responsibility of every person living in a democratic country to use their vote.
Here in the UK women have only had equal voting rights with men since 1928, though in 1918 certain women over the age of 30 and otherwise “qualified” could vote.
When you go to the polling station you don’t actually need to vote for anyone, you can “spoil your ballot” or vote for an outside cause, but just go along and use it. We don’t want our governments to be decided upon by just 66% of the electorate.
I must admit to never having voted for a party who won a general election, in spite of using my vote every year. I don’t suppose this is going to change soon, but at least I have a party that I know is founded on a solid premise – EQUALITY.
This May the party have put forward Sophie Walker as the London Mayoral candidate – she will get my vote for sure.
Happy International Women’s Day to all of you and don’t forget:
USE YOUR VOTE!
You can make your #PledgeForParity here