I am in a moment that is on the edge of being extraordinary. As the Leader of WE, I have transformed women’s equality from an idea into a diverse and flourishing political movement of 45,000 members and supporters in just 9 months. And now I am throwing my hat in the ring as the first ever WE candidate for London Mayor.
Because if you want to see diversity, you have to get out there and be it.
I spent many years frustrated that other politicians didn’t seem to care about my needs as I fought for equal pay, equal work opportunity and shared parenting. When I found out my daughter had autism, it wasn’t the diagnosis that made us sad, but finding out that no-one really understood how she felt or welcomed her as a person who lived differently.
All of those experiences have taught me if you want a society that appreciates and embraces diversity, you have to get out there and build it.
If you do make those changes, then wonderful things can happen.
That is why I want to be the next Mayor of London - because the power of diversity can transform our city..
I’ve spent twenty years watching London change from somewhere people can thrive, to a place where potential - particularly that of women and ethnic minorities - is squeezed by discrimination, sky-high living costs and unaffordable housing.
Women and girls are being pushed aside in London. They are more likely to be living in poverty and less likely to have a job. They are being told in schools that their gender limits their future. They experience harassment on our streets and on our public transport system. Their needs are being forgotten and this hurts everyone, because equality is not a zero sum game. When women prosper, so do men.
It’s simple justice to demand women get the chances and the opportunities they have in the rest of the country – and these issues can no longer be ignored by any politician serious about running our city.
But there’s a second reason to put equality for women at the top of the Mayor’s agenda. If we harness the potential of the four million women in London, we will all lead better lives. The pay gap will shrink, our economy will grow, businesses will transform, housing will be affordable, transport will be accessible and our streets will be safer.
That is the London that I want to live in.
Make this election matter.