Meet the Policy Committee Candidates - Women's Equality

Meet the Policy Committee Candidates

Meet the Policy Committee Candidates

The Policy Committee is made of the spokesperson and movement builder for each of our six policy areas, plus Scotland. Policy on our seventh area, equal health care, is being developed by a sub-committee working with the Party Leader and Chief of Staff.

Conference delegates will be able to cast their vote at conference. Find out more about 2018's candidates below. 

 

ROLE: Equality in Health - Spokesperson

Sarah Myers

I’ve spent a long time in and out of hospitals and understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end of health care. It doesn’t work well for everybody. Even some of the language used to describe our ‘issues’ dismisses us by belittling our conditions. I now use a wheelchair yet am still urged to highlight the difficulties that women face from menstruation to menopause, and all points either side. The current scientific/medical model’s need for prediction and repetition isn’t helpful  - we aren’t all neatly predictable, are we?

I’m a trained actor and performance tutor so I’ve had plenty of practice speaking out, as well as eliciting others’ skills, and being able to spot weaknesses. As a qualified tourist guide I have analysed and condensed complex information (like the historical, cultural, and political habits of the British), into fun fare - so can get a point across palatably and succinctly!

I hope you agree my ‘lived experience’ of health challenges, along with my skills and desire to contribute to WEP make me a strong candidate, and you’ll vote for me.

 

Rebecca Manson Jones

I’ve been active in WEP since joining as a founder-member: a candidate three times, most recently in the Lewisham Council Elections where I polled 26.1% that’s 1 in 4 voters. I’ve been advocating for WEP on panels with my local MP, in radio interviews, at hustings with Mayoral and Council candidates.  I’ve spoken in the Houses of Parliament about my personal experiences of miscarriage, IVF and childlessness.

I’m excited about getting our brilliant Equal Health and Medical Research Policy into the public domain, getting the media and other political parties to take notice, our members and branches to embrace it. I’m well-placed to do this because I’ve been part of the working group that created it. I understand and can draw on the deep knowledge and breadth of research that underpins it and that informs its intersectionality and inclusivity.

I will work with the movement builder to ensure that we’re in contact with branches across the UK to keep the policy representative. I will be proactive in seeking out diverse voices to speak as well as me. I will the give the task the time and focus it needs to get our Health Policy the attention it deserves. 

 

Laura Godfrey Isaacs

I am an artist, midwife and feminist academic, who Co-Chaired the WEP Health Policy Steering Group, and wrote content for Health in the Manifesto at the last election.

I worked in the arts as a feminist academic, producer & activist and trained to be a midwife in 2013. I now work as a community midwife at a busy London hospital with a diverse population, including the biggest centre for pregnant women seeking asylum. I regularly speak at midwifery and health conferences, work with the Nursing & Midwifery Council and The Royal College of Midwives, write, blog, and am active on Twitter.

My personal experiences include recent treatment for breast cancer, and supporting my younger daughter who was born deaf and with medical complications. My oldest daughter is active in the LGBTQ+ community and her partner is a Trans Man, which helps me build understanding of the health challenges faced by this community. My mother is 90yrs old which gives me an insight into the challenges of old age.

I would love to continue work on the Equal Health Policy, and use my knowledge and experience in healthcare to promote the policies and values of WEP.

 

Annie Rose 

My name is Annie Rose; I am standing for Spokesperson in Equality in Healthcare and Medical Research. I have been nursing in one form or another since I was 18: as a healthcare assistant, in civvies and in the Reserves, in A&E, ITU, Sexual Health, and now Research.

I see inequality in healthcare delivery and amongst healthcare workers. We still see hospital Gender Pay Gap data that, despite women outnumbering man in all quartiles, we are paid less than men across all the quartiles.

Today, I continue to see studies being carried out that base their inclusion and exclusion criteria on outdated guidelines that perpetuate the idea that women and men present the same symptoms. Recent studies have reinforced what we know and seem to be doing nothing about:  women’s symptoms are downgraded, ignored, or missed, because we aren’t changing our practise, or we aren’t empathising enough with our patients, or because we haven’t done the research that would support our care of female patients.

If elected, I will work with the committee to develop and disseminate a robust policy that demands and supports change in current and future healthcare, helping the whole population achieve an optimal state of health.

 

ROLE: Equality in Health - Movement Builder

Meera Feldman

I’m on a mission to improve postnatal care for women in the UK from a grass roots level. The physical, psychological and social impact on a woman after having children is huge, yet the postnatal period in the UK is one of the most neglected and under-resourced areas in health care. This key life-stage is where I believe some of the biggest inequalities in health care become apparent.

Having built connections with the NHS, Public Health and leading figures in obstetrics, midwifery and the wellness space, we’re working on ways in which we can improve support for women in the postnatal period. This includes empowering through modern day, evidence-based education, focussing on self-care (including regular women's health checks), building strong community peer support groups and providing practical hands on help at home. I’m also committed to finding robust strategies to promote continuity of care, to find a more personalised approach to women’s health and to work with policy makers on making the language used in maternity and women's health more positive and encouraging.

An Economics graduate and mum of two with 20 years at a senior level in advertising, marketing and the digital world.

 

Corrinne Gamble

I wish to stand as movement builder, health equality on the policy committee. I have worked with women's health for nearly thirty years and in that time have seem some changes for the good, but far too little, far too late. The referendum in Ireland confirmed what we have known for a long time, women can be trusted to make decisions about their own body,  but, in England they need to take the medication in a clinic, behind a curtain and possibly miscarry on the journey home. Can this be justified?

I worked for years as an advocate for women who wanted to home birth, women who had experienced the force of the medical hierarchy, many with PTSD after previous births. These women weren't being awkward, They genuinely needed to birth in their own environment without being subjugated to the role of patient. I lost count of the number of times male doctors walked into the birthing room (after transferring in) and addressed only the partner, nothing to the woman at all, she lost her right to speak, have an opinion, make choice simply because she was pregnant. I don't want this for my daughters.

 

ROLE: Ending VAWG spokesperson

Alexia Pepper de Caires

I want to be your spokesperson for ending violence against women and girls, because our experience of violence is fundamental to the imbalance of women’s power in our world.

This year, as the #metoo movement reached across my social media, networks and into mainstream media, I witnessed first hand the power shift in speaking up. I also discovered that as an active member of the Women’s Equality Party, I too could speak out and use my voice. Not in the way that society would like me to – politely, quietly, apologetically – but LOUDLY. PROUDLY. DEMANDINGLY.

I am a changed woman for speaking up about the harms to women experienced in my workplace, and for challenging us all to hold men to account. To share my analysis I interviewed on TV, radio and in print media, as well as speaking to MPs, regulators and influencers. Beyond the personal, I now speak out with other women to demand deeper reform, and work intersectionally to express compounded experiences of oppression against women.

As spokesperson, I offer my intuitive communication skills, intellectual analysis and heartfelt passion to look at the root causes of violence, and a challenging voice to all complicity and apologists.

 

Katherine Trigg

LETS BREAK the PATTERN with HELP, ADVICE and EDUCATION

My story started 35 years ago, but actually it started even further back than that. Abuse ran in my family, my dear sweet loving grandma was hit by my grandpa. My brothers were abusive to my sister and myself. It was the ‘norm’ for us. Any relationship after that you automatically become a co dependant and attract what you feel is a ‘safe’ relationship. You attract the ‘norm’, your ‘norm’. Toxic abusive relationships. Educating children (teenagers) in behavioural patterns, teaching them about personality traits, what is abuse? What to look out for? Monitoring children that have witnessed abusive parents.

A system that alerts the person has been to court for domestic abuse.

Make it easier for the victims to report the abuser, because they are too scared to because of incrimination from the abuser. Thirty three years ago, domestic violence meant you were being beaten ‘only’ now domestic violence thank fully means the following,

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional" Including coercive and controlling behaviour which is now a criminal offence.

Have we come along way in those thirty-three years to protect women and children?

 

ROLE: Ending VAWG movement builder

Tabitha Morton

I’m Tabitha Morton and I want you to vote for me as your movement builder for ending violence against women and girls (VAWG). 

I believe that ending VAWG is the number one priority to ensure equality for all women. In the Liverpool City Region (LCR) we had no strategy to end VAWG, so as part of my campaign for LCR Mayor this was my number one priority. Once elected, the Mayor asked me to lead the work on developing this strategy and I have since worked with his office, Merseyside Police, the Police Commissioner, six local authorities and most importantly the brilliant specialist organisations working to end VAWG. They need both funding and political will to deliver the solutions they know can end this scourge and is what our party can do—we can bring pressure whilst illustrating how we end VAWG with positive action. 

I want to bring together the great work WE branches are doing around the country and my LCR experience along with the phenomenal specialist services to implement a tailored UK-wide strategy to end VAWG. I can’t do this alone so vote for me and join me on this journey to end VAWG.

 

Matt Richards

Full disclosure, I am a straight, white, cis male but I am passionate about ending Violence Against Women and Girls and I want to be as effective an ally as I can.

If elected, I will focus on education and training to improve awareness of VAWG issues and provide tools for individuals and organisations to combat VAWG themselves. I want to create a regular and consistent dialogue about VAWG issues in places of education and work to encourage people to acknowledge the problem of VAWG and their responsibility to make it stop. It is vital to stress the diversity of victims of VAWG and that they must all be protected and that those who aid or engage with any victims are able to understand and empathise with all victims.

When I was at the University of Birmingham I was on the Badminton Team Committee as the PR Representative and was captain of several teams. I was also the coach of the University B Squad for 2 years. These positions provided me with extensive experience of teaching, learning, creating programmes, conflict resolution, empathy and responsibility. I believe I can transfer these skills into helping end VAWG.

Thank you for your consideration.

 

ROLE: Equal Parenting and Caregiving spokesperson

Celine Thomas

I’m the leader of the Tunbridge Wells branch and last year I stood as our candidate for the County Council and was privileged to stand for a second time in the General Election.  Both were invaluable experience and I enjoyed every chance to spread our party’s fantastic policies.

Equal parenting and caregiving is the central piece on which everything else hangs. It is the most entrenched issue, the most costly to each of us and to all of society. Like many of you, it’s something I’ve experienced personally: seeing my mum as a single parent, and later, carer to her mother and as a parent myself.

My work has been as a lawyer for central government, which has given me useful insight into the political machinery.  Thanks to our brilliant team, I have frequently spoken on BBC radio, contributed to local press and was recently on BBC Sunday Politics (South East) to debate against Maria Caulfield MP.

I’m constantly learning and loving every moment. I have a passion for politics and for challenging  the old excuses offered by the mainstream.  The best contribution I can make to our wonderful party is as a voice for change.

 

Mandu Reid

25% of EU women cite unpaid care work as their reason for not being in the paid labour force, compared to 3% percent of men. It blows my mind that in 2018 it is still taken for granted that women will make the lion’s share of sacrifices to care for children, the elderly and others who need social care – whereas the same assumptions are not routinely made about men. The value of unpaid care provided by UK women is around £77 billion annually. I want to represent WEP as spokesperson for Equal Parenting and Caregiving to: 1. Expose the outrageous system that holds women back, prevents many from fulfilling their potential and perpetuates systemic, structural gender inequality, including the gender pay-gap. 2. Give WEP’s fully-costed policy solutions the amplification and influence they deserve. I am a passionate and persuasive communicator. I’ve worked in government in strategy and social policy roles and have founded a charity that has advocacy and thought leadership at its heart. ‘Change’ is a buzz word in politics. But WE’re calling for more than ‘change’, WE’re calling for radical transformation. I would be honoured to represent WEP in this key policy area.

 

ROLE: Equal Representation movement builder

Lynne Devereux

My name is Lynne and I’m a fierce advocate for social, political, legal and economic rights for women equal to those of men. Seriously, what kind of person doesn’t want this?

I joined the WEP because I want to make a change so here I am putting myself forward as movement builder for Equal Representation. (I would consider a role as Spokesperson).

I’ve encountered sexism all my life: harassment at work, treats of sexual violence on the streets, unfair pay because I have boobs and I’ve had enough. For women to have a voice it has to start with Equal Representation

I graduated with a degree in politics and initially worked for MPs in the UK Parliament where I gained parliamentary election and Cabinet office experience and learnt how to get issues on the political agenda. Then moved on to sales management where I mastered the art of negotiation – skills that will come in handy when we’re up against ‘pale male and stale’ politicians in power.

I believe that my keen interest in public affairs and ‘can do’ positive attitude equips me for this role where I will enjoy inspiring people related to the work of the party.

 

Pamela Ritchie

I am passionate about representation, I want to see leaders in all areas of life reflecting the diversity they represent. Until you can see yourself reflected within an organisation, it is so much harder to feel a valued part of that community.

As a campaigner for proportional representation with Make Votes Matter, I have worked locally with members of all parties to discuss strategy. I also attending alliance building events – discussing national plans to bring about change with cross party MPs, lords and decision makers, as well as some of the leading voices in electoral reform.

Having worked in a male dominated environment throughout my career, I have learnt from experience value of what could be achieved by having more women in decision making positions in the work place.

With WEP, I have gained new skills through volunteering at branch level, meeting with people from different organisations, speaking at events and standing as a candidate in the local elections.

If I am elected, I will be an approachable member of the committee, making myself available to branches and individual members, to listen to you and bring you updates on progress. Together our voices can make equal representation a reality.

 

Helen Shay

I joined WEP because women’s equality is not just right, but also the answer to fixing our broken society.

As a founder member, I became enthused by politics for the first time, standing in local elections for Harrogate Stray Ward and gaining almost 7% of the vote.  Currently, I’m Branch Press Relations Officer.

Throughout my career as a solicitor, I’ve championed equality and fairness, for example, acting as an adjudicator with an ombudsman’s office and now practising equality law in my current role as General Counsel with a Russell Group University.  My voluntary work has included serving on a CPS Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel and currently as Trustee for a local Homeless Project.  I’m also on a Law Society Committee aiming to improve representation/diversity within my own profession.

As Equal Representation Movement Builder, I’ll connect and develop relationships, drawing upon my professional contacts throughout all the UK, including senior businesswomen (having myself worked in commercial property, financial services, retail and education sectors).  I also have access to networks across public sector groups, charities and not-for-profit organisations.

I can bring to the Committee my vision, drive and experience, together with research and communication skills – and, above all, complete commitment.

 

Jane Whild

At the 2016 WEP Conference I moved from feeling feminist, to doing feminism. I observed that others were as angry as I was at the failures of 'the Patriarchy'; I heard women's stories and was incredibly moved; I discovered appropriate language & ideas with which to express my feelings and engage in the conversations; I realised that when women come together in numbers we have huge potential power; I voted on policies and action designed to end injustice, oppression and violence against women. I pledged to actively strive for an equal society.

This year, has seen me growing the Milton Keynes Branch, cultivating relationships with local groups, and marching! I have travelled to canvass for WEP branches in the local elections.  I graduated from the Parliament Project’s national #GetReadyToStand programme which introduced me to diverse, like-minded women around the UK.  I also became an Ambassador for 50:50 Parliament’s #AskHerToStand campaign.

I offer passion, leadership and commitment to the Movement Builder for Equal Representation role. I will extend my networks and work with the Equal Representation Spokesperson and Policy Committee to develop policies and campaigns that will attract women to stand for, and to win, positions of power.

 

ROLE: Equal Education movement builder

Guilene Gaspais

I am a candidate for the movement builder position on Equal Education. I am part of the Islington branch. Although I am a recent member, I have been active in my local area for several years. I have been organising community events and campaigning on local issues.

I started fighting against budget cuts in education 2 years ago to save our local nursery and then joined the national campaign Fair Funding For All Schools.
But not everything can be reduced to a budget question ! There is also the need for a behavioural change in schools in the different ways we treat girls and boys. Sometimes it is very subtle; sometimes less so!

I met amazing teachers and headteachers through Fair Funding and realised the amount of fantastic but sometimes isolated initiatives that are deployed in many schools. It would be great to promote them and share them with others, and I am sure our members/teachers will be the best support in this.

The journey started on Equal Education is exciting as what is happening in our schools today is how our society will look like tomorrow and I would like to be part of it.

 

Emma Reynolds

“Extremists have shown what frightens them most: a girl with a book” Malala Yousafzani

I am an activist, campaigner, professional in adult learning and an individual who has experienced unequal education. As a young girl in a single parent family, relying on free school meals and after school clubs; I am well aware that I have not experienced the advantages won by those in more privileged positions. We know education is not equal; we know girls are affected by their biology, race impacts prospect and treatment, money can afford opportunities that those without cannot. We know 49% of girls have missed a day off school due to their period; that British Caribbean pupils are permanently excluded from school at 3x the rate of White British pupils; and students from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to be in the top 10% attainment in English and Maths at the end of Primary school.

My name is Emma Reynolds. I am the founder of ‘The Blob’, a platform disrupting the conversation about periods; a trustee for S.A.L.V.E International, a Ugandan charity focused on getting kids off the streets and back into education; and I am here to become your Equal Education Movement Builder.

 

ROLE: Scotland Representative movement builder

David Renton

I am a founding Life Member of the Party, and current Treasurer of the Edinburgh/Lothian Branch. Some of you may have met me at the WE Scottish Conference 2018, or at the first WE UK Conference in Manchester in 2016; I was Treasurer and co-organiser of the former, and co-chair and member of the Agenda Committee for the latter.

I have been on WE teams writing: The Constitution; Conference Standing orders; the WE Scottish Manifesto.

At Elections I was: campaigner and Count Agent at the Scottish Parliament Elections 2016 in Edinburgh/Lothian; Treasurer, campaigner and Election Agent in Stirling for the 2018 General Election.

Outside the Party: I am a Barrister by profession, a Biker by inclination, and a Writer more by perspiration than by inspiration. I have been a Carer, Care worker, and Theatrical Technician. I currently act as Chair of a Disability Charity (Meniere’s Society), and am a Disability Advocate.

Personally: I have been a Feminist for 50 years, and registered disabled for 20 years.

I see the Scottish Movement Builder as spreading the WE voice in Scotland to organisations, individuals and Government, and as advocating within the Party for the special demands facing WE in a devolved Scotland.

 

Suz Martin

As a public affairs professional, my raison d’être is stakeholder communication.

For the past three and a half years I have been building a career in public affairs, having moved from the private sector into the third sector just this year. I have experience of a myriad of policy areas, from planning and environmental regulation, right through to healthcare, social care and social security.

On a daily basis I will be scrupulously analysing out-dated policies, as well as new policy announcements, with a view to developing policy asks for government – both Scottish and UK. I can be found in the Scottish Parliament and in constituency offices on a regular basis, in addition to the many meetings with civil servants, promoting carefully developed policy positions.

However, the most important part of my role is stakeholder engagement. It is crucial to harness the support of real people, who can provide legitimacy and authenticity to your campaign. That doesn’t mean persuading people to support you; it means listening to people and building positive relationships, so that their experience and knowledge can be reflected in your objectives.

It would be a privilege to utilise my experience in the role of Scotland Movement Builder.

  
        
  

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