The Steering Committee is made up of the Party Leader, The Party’s Life President and Life M.C, ten members elected by Party Conference, five members recommended by the Steering Committee and appointed at Party conference, and five members randomly selected.
Your Steering Committee members, as of September 2018, are:
Sophie Walker is the Leader of the Women’s Equality Party. In 2016 she ran for London Mayor in and gathered a quarter of a million votes. In 2017 she contested Conservative MP and ‘men’s rights activist’ Philip Davies in Shipley.
A former Reuters correspondent of 20 years, Sophie came to politics via disability campaigning and activism, spurred to action after her daughter Grace was diagnosed with autism and met little support or understanding. Sophie is also an ambassador for the National Autistic Society and for IncludeMEtoo, a national charity supporting disabled children and their families from diverse backgrounds.
Sandi is a writer, comedian and broadcaster who co-founded the Women's Equality Party in 2016. She is the current Chancellor of Portsmouth University and is involved with many charities focusing on civil liberty, women’s rights and education. Sandi was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the British LGBT Awards in 2018.
Catherine is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist with a career spanning The Economist, the German news weekly FOCUS and TIME magazine. Her most recent book 'Attack of the Fifty Foot Women: How Gender Equality Can Save the World!' includes the story of why in 2015 she co-founded the Women’s Equality Party with Sandi Toksvig. She served as elected president of the Foreign Press Association in London, is on the founding committee of WOW - The Women of the World Festival and is a judge for the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Catherine is the President of the Women’s Equality Party.
Elected committee members
Ali Smith was brought up in a highly political family who thought equality should be a given, and she's used this incredible privilege all her life to try and afford everyone else the same democratic freedoms. Ali is an editor and legal proof reader by trade, and has edited everything from academic journals to children's fiction.
Bea Gare is a former British Diplomat. In mid-career she undertook a PhD in biological sciences and rejoined the FCO after a short stint running her own Environmental Consultancy. Her work in the FCO concentrated on multilateral arms control including 5 years in Vienna at the British delegation to the OSCE.
Bea joined WEP in 2016. A lifetime of watching Westminster politics led her to the only party with policies on equality and PR as part of their manifesto.
Chris is a highly strategic business and charity leader, specialising in the growth of small organisations on a global scale. Chris is a Trustee of Just Like Us, an LGBT+ charity for young people; Non-Executive Director of Leaders Unlocked, a social enterprise giving young people a voice and has recently been appointed to the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board.
Chris is of the firm belief that the Women's Equality Party is the only answer to our broken political system and a feminist analysis and solution-focus is the way to fix it.
Francesca Pridding is a lawyer and a town clerk from rural Mid-Wales hoping to change the world for women with the help of her twin 18-year-old daughters.
She is passionate about equality in every aspect but particularly politics, sport, and education.
Janet Baker is a founding member of WEP and an active part of the Lambeth branch, running the communications for the past two and a half years. She stood for council elections in May 2018, lead the 'buffer zone' campaign in Lambeth, and will continue to learn, listen, and stand up in order to make a difference.
Leila is delighted to be a Steering Committee member and sharing her experience and skills from working the charity sector as Head of Funding, being the Lambeth branch leader, and a long-term feminist advocate. Being mixed race, from a deprived background and suffering from various chronic health conditions, including endometriosis, Leila hopes to apply race, social-economic and disability lenses to the role.
Appointed committee members
Athena is an acclaimed writer and actress having worked with such organisations as Channel 4, Shakespeare’s Globe, Finborough Theatre and BBC. She is passionate about increasing the breadth of stories told about women and minority groups in the media. Additionally, she was born with Cerebral Palsy and has acted as an independent transport consultant.
Athena joined the Party out of frustration when she found her own voice silenced and overlooked by every sector of society. Her hope is that women in politics will create a new form of power that liberates all members of society to be the best that they can be.
Yvonne Thompson CBE
Yvonne is an entrepreneur working in the Communications, Marketing and PR industry. She has advised corporates, public sector, educational establishments and government, developing a reputation as an activist and a campaigner for supporting women and minorities in business.
In 2003 she received a CBE in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Birthday Honours List for her work with small business, women and minorities. In 2005 she received a doctorate for her work with women and minorities in small businesses and supporting entrepreneurs from London Metropolitan University, and in 2015 she received her second doctorate for work in Global Diversity and Equality from Plymouth University. In 2015 she published her first book, “7 Traits of Highly Successful Women on Boards". A book promoting greater gender diversity in company boardrooms.
Randomly selected committee members
Alison Holder is Director of Equal Measures 2030, an independent civil society and private sector-led partnership that connects data and evidence with advocacy and action, helping to fuel progress towards gender equality.
Alison has nearly 20 years’ experience working in international development and the private sector, including leading policy, advocacy and campaigning work on issues ranging from inequality, tax justice, accountability, and corporate responsibility at Action Aid, Oxfam, and Save the Children. She has also worked on livelihoods projects with women’s groups in India and small business development in South Africa.
Beverly Chandler is a managing editor who manages and curates social media, interviews, and news features on finance.
With experience of working in the journalism and finance industries, she has seen first-hand the inequalities in terms of both pay and career progression between the genders, igniting a profound desire to see equality achieved across personal and work environments.
Judith has a Master's Degree in 'Shakespeare and Theatre' from the University of Birmingham as well as a BA (Hons) from the Open University in Literature. Her studies have enabled her to explore the language used towards women and femininity and how such language influences the perception of gender.
In her career, Judith has worked as a Project Manager overseeing the refurbishments of public libraries, and as a Development Librarian working in hard to reach social areas. Her library work has shown her the value women bring to communities in terms of education, mutual support, and a flexible approach to collective problem solving.
She believes that The Women's Equality Party is the optimal platform to challenge the current social narrative and collectively cause a seismic shift in order to establish a truly equal society.