WE Central Team

WE Central Team

WE Central Team

 

Catherine MayerCM_circle.jpg
Co-Founder of the Women's Equality Party, Author and Journalist
@catherine_mayer

Catherine Mayer is the co-founder, with Sandi Toksvig, of the Women’s Equality Party and is now the Party’s President. She proposed the idea of the party on 2 March 2015 at the Women of the World festival, called Sandi the next day and discovered that Sandi had planned at the same festival to call for just such a party. They immediately decided to work together.

Catherine published her bestselling biography of Prince Charles, Charles: The Heart of a King, in February 2015. She is also the author of the 2011 book Amortality: The Pleasures and Perils of Living Agelessly.

During her career as a journalist, she has worked as a staff writer for The Economist, Deputy Editor of Business Traveller and International Management magazines, and as a foreign correspondent for the German news weekly Focus. She joined TIME magazine as Senior Editor in 2004, and during her eleven-year tenure went on to serve as London Bureau Chief, Europe Editor and Editor at Large. She has also written for the Guardian, the Observer, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph and the Wall Street Journal, and frequently appears on television in the UK and the US.

She was President of the Foreign Press Association in London from 2003-2005.

Winner: FPA Story of the Year 2010; Finalist: Orwell Prize 2011.

She is on the founding committee of the Women of the World Festival (WOW) and is a trustee of the medical charity, the National Migraine Centre.

Role at Party Conference

Catherine will be speaking on Putting Women into History, and will lead a series of workshops on the Top 10 questions WE members need to answer.

 

Sandi Toksvig Sandi_Toksvig.JPG
Co-Founder of the Women's Equality Party and Broadcaster
@sanditoksvig

Sandi founded the Women's Equality Party in March 2015, along with Catherine Mayer, because she was frustrated with the inequality of the system and decided that if she wanted equality for women she might as well do it herself. Her aims for the party are that within 10 years there should be gender equality. She believes it’s perfectly doable, as all WE's proposals are pragmatic.

She cites the facts that in London a woman is beaten up every seven minutes; domestic violence cases are horrific and shelters are closing at a frightening rate. She says: “In London the gender pay gap is currently 23 per cent, but if that extra money was earned and national insurance and taxes were paid, think how many hospitals we could fund. Think how many fantastic resources it would provide. It doesn’t make financial sense in this country not to fully employ women and pay them properly.”

Sandi was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and brought up around the world. She began her comedy career at Girton College, Cambridge, where she wrote and performed in the first all-woman show at the Footlights and achieved a first class degree.

Sandi is well known to UK audiences as a broadcaster, having begun her career in children’s television playing Ethel in Number 73. Since then her television career has included celebrated series such as 'Call My Bluff' and 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?', and her radio career 'The News Quiz' (as chair).

Sandi is passionate about live performance. She performed at the very first night of The Comedy Store in London and for many years was one of the improvisation team, The Comedy Store Players. She was the executive producer of 'Playhouse Live' for Sky Arts, and last year was executive producer of six new half-hour films.

Much of Sandi’s time is devoted to writing. She has written over twenty books for children and adults, as well as a monthly column for Good Housekeeping magazine. For the theatre, Sandi has co-authored musicals and plays.

Sandi is Stephen Fry's replacement for the host chair of 'QI', BBC2's fiendishly difficult and hugely popular quiz. She has also begun writing a musical about Dusty Springfield and has numerous other writing projects in the pipeline.

Role at Party Conference

Sandi Toksvig will speak at the opening session on Why Are Women Missing from History?

 

Sophie WalkerSophie_circle.jpg
Leader of the Women's Equality Party
@SophieRunning

Sophie Walker is the leader of the Women’s Equality Party. Sophie was selected as the first party leader in July 2015 and was profiled in the Telegraph newspaper at the time with the headline: “This generation’s Emmeline Pankhurst?”

In January 2016, Sophie was elected to represent the Women’s Equality Party in the London Mayoral election on a manifesto seeking to close the city’s pay gap; end sexual harassment and violence against women and girls in the capital; create affordable childcare and housing for women and to build an accessible, safe transport network. She won just over 250,000 votes, or one in twenty of every one cast for London Mayor.

Sophie is determined to put women's rights and the diversity of women's experiences at the top of the UK political agenda. She is determined to get more women into politics - offering childcare support and low-income bursaries to new candidates for WE - and to work with all political parties towards gender equality.

Sophie worked as an international news agency journalist for nearly twenty years and is an ambassador for the National Autistic Society, campaigning for better support and understanding of autism, particularly in women and girls. 

Role at Party Conference

Sophie will deliver the Leader's speech on Saturday afternoon.

 

Hannah Peaker HP_circle.jpg
Chief of Staff, Women's Equality Party

Hannah is the Women's Equality Party's Chief of Staff. She is responsible for the running of the Party.

Hannah began her career working in the voluntary sector on community empowerment, and cut her political teeth volunteering on the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign as a field organiser. Fascinated by the potential of political organising to achieve gender equality, Hannah won a scholarship to study at Harvard Kennedy School.

Since that time, Hannah has worked with UN Women, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Trade Centre on gender equality. Before joining the Women's Equality Party she worked as an adviser on transparency and open government at the Cabinet Office.

Role at Party Conference

Hannah will be the Party Conference Chair. She will introduce delegates to the practicalities of how Party Conference works, and will lead a series of workshops on Mobilisation and Building a Movement for Change.

 

Halla GunnarsdóttirHalla_circle.jpg
Head of Policy and Partnerships, Women’s Equality Party
@hallagg

Halla Gunnarsdóttir is the Head of Policy & Partnerships of the Women‘s Equality Party. Previously, Halla served as the Senior Adviser to international law firm McAllister Olivarius and prior to that as the Special Adviser to the Home Secretary of Iceland. A former journalist for Morgunbladid Daily, Halla holds a B.Ed. in Education and an M.A. in International Relations. She has also published books and academic articles and produced stories and programmes for both TV and radio.
As an activist, Halla has taken on various leadership roles within the Feminist Association of Iceland and the Women’s Equality Party in the UK. Currently, Halla is a board member of the Institute for Gender, Equality and Difference at the University of Iceland.


Role at Party Conference

Halla is on the Agenda Committee for the Party Conference and will serve as co-chair of party business sessions. She will also co-host the workshop How childcare will transform the UK.

 

Catherine Riley Catherine_circle.jpg
Head of Communications, Women's Equality Party 
@ceriley7

Catherine is responsible for building the Party's profile and impact through internal and external communications, partnerships and campaigns.

Catherine joined WE in November 2015, having been a volunteer from the Party’s earliest days, first as a branch co-ordinator and then as head of the media policy working group. She was initially appointed as Partnerships and Communications Manager before taking up her current role in February 2016.

Since then she has headed up a range of media and communications campaigns, working alongside our membership and mobilisation teams, notably:

  • #WEcount campaign, featuring Pavan Amara, highlighting the prevalence of sexual harassment, assault and intimidation on the streets;
  • Pay Day Party highlighting the pay gap; 
  • Our first ever Party Election Broadcast (PEB) which went out to an audience of millions;
  • Give Half Your Votes to Equality - WE think that’s fair campaign, during May’s elections, which communicated our non-partisan inclusivity. The Party’s paid communications campaign had over 3 million views on both Facebook and YouTube. WE won one in 20 of the votes cast in London for London Mayor;
  • #100daysofMay calling on Theresa May to commit to six easily-achievable asks on gender equality; and
  • #NoSizeFitsAll which seeks to finally redress the unhealthy and unachievable images of women’s bodies produced within the fashion industry.

Along with Charlotte, WE's Communications Coordinator, Catherine helps oversee the Party’s external website.

Catherine joined the Party from a career straddling academia and journalism. Most recently she was a lecturer on gender and literature at Birkbeck College, having completed her PhD there on the feminist publisher Virago. She has also taught in inner city schools as part of the charity The Brilliant Club’s scholar programme, which encourages disadvantaged students to consider university study as a realistic option. And she has written for a range of retail and consumer titles including Which? and John Lewis’s in-house magazines.

In her spare time Catherine continues to read and write about feminism, gender and literature, and has just completed a monograph entitled 'Feminism and Women's Writing: An Introduction' which will be published by Edinburgh University Press in January 2018.

Role at Party Conference

Catherine will be leading a series of workshops on Messaging: Cutting through the noise.

 

Olumide AdisaOlumide_circle.jpg
Head of Fundraising and Development, Women’s Equality Party

Olumide Adisa is an experienced and motivated fundraising expert. Olumide joined WE as Head of Fundraising and Development in August 2016. She has spent over eight years fundraising for UK and overseas charities, raising six-figure sums with major funders as well as a brief stint in investment banking, raising venture capital for small and medium enterprises. Olumide’s most recent role was as the Development Manager for EDP (Educational Development Projects) Trust, where she helped set-up a successful trusts fundraising programme including developing and implementing a fundraising strategy. Her core interests are in fundraising and development, project management, research and policy. Olumide also recently completed her PhD in Economic Sociology at the University of Nottingham.

Through an existing consortium arrangement, Olumide provided training sessions on writing successful fundraising proposals to help small community groups become sustainable as well as increasing fundraising income. Olumide is passionate about fundraising and is very keen to share her knowledge of fundraising to help individuals and groups maximise fundraising.

When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her partner and two cats, and watching re-runs of the political drama series Scandal (with a nice cuppa!).

Role at Party Conference

Olumide will be hosting a workshop on fundraising.

 

Celia WilsonCelia_circle.jpg
Senior Campaign Coordinator, Women’s Equality Party
@wilspring

Celia Wilson is the Senior Campaigns Coordinator of the Women‘s Equality Party, with responsibility for the management and development of branches and hubs and coordination of campaigns.
Before joining the WE staff team, she worked in Local Government as a Children’s Services manager. Her 20-year Children’s Services career began working with young people involved in crime and anti-social behaviour, and youth homelessness, and as she moved into management gained an increasing focus on the potential of technology and data systems to support good practice and inform strategic planning. She holds a BA in Social Policy from Sussex University and professional qualifications in leadership, project management and coaching. 
Before her involvement with the Women’s Equality Party, which started as a local branch leader, Celia had been a feminist campaigner and local activist in her home town of Brighton.

Role at Party Conference

Celia will be looking after volunteers, coordinating branch activity, and facilitating workshops for branch officers.

 

Rachel StathamRachel_circle.jpg
Political Campaigns Coordinator, Women’s Equality Party
@rachelstatham_

Rachel has taken on various roles with WE, focusing on growing our network of members and supporters and leading on mobilisation for the Party’s first elections earlier this year. Before joining the party, she worked on a start-up driving better public engagement with mental health and with a women’s business cooperative in Ecuador.

As a student activist Rachel was elected to Amnesty International UK’s Student Action Network Committee and represented the student movement as part of the UK governance team. Rachel was a youth delegate at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2014 and went on to co-found Youth to End Sexual Violence, a coalition of young activists working to tackle sexual and gender-based violence. She holds a First in History from the University of York and currently sits on Amnesty International’s UK Women’s Action Network Committee.

Role at Party Conference

Rachel will be co-hosting a workshop on mobilisation and will serve as co-chair of party business sessions.

 

Charlotte Binns
Communications Coordinator, Women’s Equality PartyChar_circle.jpg
@CharBinns

Charlotte joined the Women’s Equality Party’s central team in the middle of its first election campaign, hitting the ground sprinting as Digital Campaigns Coordinator. After the election, she took on a wider remit in the role of Communications Coordinator, and continues to lead on digital communications. Previously, Charlotte spent eight years working with small charities building intercultural and interfaith understanding both locally, in and around London and, internationally, spending eight months in Uganda and leading workshops in diverse locations such as San Francisco, Paris and Sarajevo.

Charlotte’s professional roles have encompassed a wide variety of activities from running workshops with young people, to devising and implementing communications strategies, to writing and editing academic papers and book chapters. Charlotte holds an MA in the Study of Religions from SOAS, University of London. She is passionate about social justice, youth empowerment, vegetarian cooking, and loose-leaf tea.

Role at Party Conference

Charlotte will be hosting a breakout debate called Agree to disagree - the power of dialogue, and a communications workshop for Branch Data Managers

During conference, Charlotte will also be working with a team of volunteers to ensure that both internal and external conference communications are exciting, engaging and informative.

 

Elly BullElly_circle.jpg
Finance and Admin Officer, Women’s Equality Party 
@EllyBull

Elly joined the Women’s Equality Party’s central team at the start of the party’s first election campaign. Her main role was to support the party treasurer in meeting the Electoral Commission’s regulatory requirements of the party. Since the election campaign, Elly has been working on the framework for allowing local branches to fundraise (legally!) and contribute to the success of the party, as well as keeping an eye on the general background operations of the party. Previously Elly was an Assistant Operations Manager at a supermarket and she has a degree in Biochemistry.

As the eldest of 5 sisters, Elly feels passionately about making sure her sisters will have the same opportunities as everyone else when they grow up. In her spare time, Elly enjoys cycling, golf, computer gaming and tending to her pet lizard, Horace.

Role at Party Conference

Elly will be on hand to answer branch’s financial and regulatory questions.

 

Priscilla Mensah Priscilla_circle.jpg
Members and Supporters Officer, WE
@Pris_Mensah

Priscilla is the Members and Supporters Officer for the Women’s Equality Party. Before assuming her post in the summer, Priscilla was President of the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU), where she led the union’s work on student mental wellbeing, widening Black Minority Ethnic (BME) educational participation and improving gender equality policy.

Priscilla holds a First in Politics, Psychology and Sociology (PPS) from the University of Cambridge, where she co-founded the university’s first BME women’s network and co-ordinated several events on Black feminism and women of colour in academia.

As an activist, Priscilla has worked closely on improving diversity in Higher Education. At present, she is a trustee of B.Supreme, a charity supporting community inclusion through Hip Hop dance, and is a contributor for the upcoming Feminist Times column ‘Speak Between the Waves’.

Role at Party Conference

Priscilla will be leading a series of workshops at Party Conference on Understanding Your Privilege and how to diversify the UK feminist movement. She will also be co-chairing during party business sessions.