Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party publishes open letter to Theresa May
29th January 2017
Dear Theresa May,
You must speak up. Donald Trump’s ban on the citizens of seven countries and suspension of the US refugee programme is not, as you suggested, simply a domestic matter. It is a shockwave that shatters the lives of thousands of women and children. It demonises all Muslims while acting as recruiting sergeant for the extremists he claims it will block. Your silence allows the U.S. President to build walls around all our lives.
You must speak up because everything the new U.S. President has done in his first week has global repercussions. He shut down action on climate change, affordable healthcare and the reproductive rights of women, not just in the US, but in removing funding from any foreign organisation that might share information about abortions. Moves that will literally kill thousands. Yesterday, a week to the day that millions around the world marched for democracy and freedom, Trump tore up both and revealed the dark heart of racism that beats now in Congress.
The Women’s Equality Party stands for a UK that rejects this hatred and division. WE stand for a UK that sees the value of migrants and the people who travel in hopes of new chances to thrive and work. WE stand for a UK that sees women as equals and that includes immigrant women and does not lock up women who have fled violence against them or limit access to services by marital status. WE stand for a UK that does not wink at sexual harassment but stamps it out and gives women control over their own bodies because it cherishes this vital pre-condition to women’s participation in society and the economy.
WE understand that you went to the US looking for a good trade deal. WE want that too. During the Brexit debate, we warned that women’s needs and interests were being overlooked, that women’s rights and protections were threatened. This happened because women’s voices were largely excluded from the debate. The only way to make a success of Brexit is not to repeat that mistake.
Trade deals must take into account their impact on women. Negotiations for Brexit and the new settlement must take into account what this means for women.
WE want a UK that sets the bar high for special relationships and bases them on an international language of unity and trust and openess, not small-mouthed diplomacy.
Prime Minister, it is your job to secure for everyone in the UK equal opportunities and protections. To see us all, hear us all and represent us all. Such is the privilege of your position. You set great store by the promise you made when you became Prime Minister, to build a country where everyone is equal. But your silence today tells us that your promise is not resolute.
Theresa May, you must speak up now.
Leader, Women's Equality Party