WE will lead the line at the Women's March on London on Saturday
Published on 16 January 2017
Thousands of Women’s Equality Party members and supporters are expected in central London on Saturday 21 January to take part in the Women’s March on London. They will make the walk from Grosvenor Square to Trafalgar Square in a show of global solidarity on the first day of Donald Trump’s Presidency. WE activists will be joined by Emma Thompson who defected from Labour to join the Women’s Equality Party in the 2016 London elections.
Party leader Sophie Walker, who pledged in her debut party conference speech in November to make inclusion of the needs and experiences of women of colour, disabled women and LGBT+ women the litmus of her leadership, will lead the line at the front of the march.
“This march is a show of strength in the face of racism, sexism and misogyny, and the intolerance and divisiveness that characterised the politics of 2016,” said Walker. “We will march in solidarity with all those who are marginalised and threatened by this politics of fear. We will stand side by side to show that this year marks the start of a new politics of inclusion and tolerance.”
The election of Trump as US president triggered a spike in applications for membership of the Women’s Equality Party. “Hundreds joined us on 9 November, and we’ve had hundreds more come to our party in the weeks since,” said Walker. “This growing support for a politics that puts equal, fundamental rights for all first means 2017 will be a year of real change. We will reject hate. We will reclaim politics. And we will win.”
Women’s Equality Party member, Tanya Moodie, will represent the party at the rally, while co-founder Sandi Toksvig will MC the programme of speakers drawn from across the political spectrum. Only two political parties, the Women’s Equality Party and the Greens, back the march institutionally but members of other parties plan to attend.
“We are delighted to see that the Greens, Lib Dems, Conservatives and Labour are joining us at the march, as gender equality is an issue that should always transcend party lines,” said Walker. “It is time to make women’s equality a political priority for all.”
Sandi Toksvig, a long-standing advocate of LGBT rights and one of the first ‘out’ lesbians in British public life, is thrilled to be fronting the rally. “I am proud to be part of the day, and will march alongside all the brilliant women and men who have joined our party, as well as all those who want to defend our rights to live freely and honestly, without fear of persecution,” she said. “I am looking forward to showing the world that equality is vital, and it is worth fighting for everyday.”
The organisers of the march contacted WE co-founder Catherine Mayer, who holds dual citizenship and voted for Hillary Clinton in the US election, shortly after Trump’s election, and the Women’s Equality Party quickly threw its support behind the march, becoming one of its main partners.
“I march as a US voter who tried and failed to keep out Trump and sees how women in the US will suffer as a direct consequence of his election,” said Mayer. “Plans are already gathering place to defund the largest US provider of family planning services, Planned Parenthood, and to restrict abortion rights. We must stand up against this attack on women’s equality and put an end to the dangerous brand of populism that is threatening women’s rights across the world.”