Meet the Steering Committee Candidates - Women's Equality

Meet the Steering Committee Candidates

Meet the Steering Committee Candidates

The Steering Committee is the Party’s central decision-making body outside of Party Conferences. It steers the direction of the Party by agreeing strategy, planning ahead and reacting to internal and external factors. It monitors the Party’s activities and outcomes against its mission, aims and objectives, and makes sure the Party’s activities are within the budget it sets and approves each year. It is also the body with the sole discretion to decide when and where WE stand candidates in elections.

Conference delegates will be able to cast their vote at conference. Find out more about 2018's candidates below. 


Alison Smith


I’m Ali Smith, a feminist who hates injustice; I joined the Women’s Equality Party to help achieve equality. I’m committed to consensus politics and WE’s focused objectives. 

Helping to build the Brighton and Hove branches, draft WE’s constitution and research our policies was the perfect preparation for being elected to the Steering Committee in 2016.  

The committee’s requirements play to my strengths:

  • a laser eye for detail
  • knowing and applying WE’s policies
  • a deep understanding of our constitution
  • analysing new information, discussing:
    • its relevance and strategic potential
    • how it could influence our direction
  • lifelong experience of election campaigning*
  • the practical application of political strategy to our campaigns
  • keeping branches’ and members’ needs always in mind.

*I now have M.E., an invisible disability which, frustratingly, stops me canvassing or doing physical work.

If I’m re-elected to the Steering Committee I will continue to do the grassroots work behind the scenes, making sure our party’s structure is robust, compliant, transparent, accessible, and WE are democratic, diverse, inclusive and strategically sound.  

I hope to carry on the work I’ve started and I’d be honoured to do so as your representative.  

Please vote for me. Thank you.


Annie Rickard 


I am standing for election to the steering committee because I am committed to WEP and would love the opportunity to get more involved in the party strategy.

Although I have no political experience, I feel, like many, that we are constantly let down by our elected politicians. The most exciting thing to have happened in politics in recent years is the formation of WE. The commitment to equality for everyone, underpinned by a belief that the failure to harness women’s talents is both shameful and an opportunity, is genuinely inspirational, and has the potential to transform society.

My experience as an entrepreneur and global executive in advertising and media, surrounded by men for 30 years, has made me more determined than ever to bring about change. I developed multiple initiatives to mentor and teach women globally and at all levels within advertising. I believe that this direct action is the only way to ensure women’s voices are heard. Having stepped down from this role, I am keen to dedicate my time and energy to work with WEP to ensure its success, growth, and diversity.

I am excited to work with WEP to bring about this vital transformation.


Barbara Guest


I’ve been an active member of the Manchester branch since August 2015, and have helped plan, organise, campaign, canvass, raise funds, been an election agent, and done many other things to help spread the word locally about our party’s objectives and policies. I have learnt a lot and have also been able to share my own experiences and knowledge to help develop our branch.

I believe it’s vital that WE continually have conversations with new people and build a diverse support base. It will take all of us working together to bring about the substantial changes needed to achieve gender equality. For me, diversity equals strength. It brings different ways of approaching situations, a wider range of skills, experiences and knowledge, leading to more creative ways of thinking. Why would you not want to develop the potential and harness the talents of everyone?

I’ve developed a broad range of skills both as a frontline social welfare adviser and a manager, working across both the public and voluntary sectors, fighting to protect the rights and services of people living with poverty and/or disadvantage. I would love to be given the opportunity to share them to help steer and strengthen our party.


Deborah Granville


As a founder member and committed supporter of WEP, I would love the chance to help steer the party to even greater success. Since attending the second party meeting in April 2015, I put together the Haringey and Barnet branch of the party, co-lead it for two years, then was elected leader of the Haringey branch where I ran the general election campaign for Nimco Ali in Hornsey Wood Green. I stood down to take up a post with Haringey Council, but now that I’ve settled in, I have time and energy to devote to helping the party mobilise a greater number of supporters and gain that all important first seat on a council or in the House of Commons. I believe that my skills as a senior manager, professional fundraiser and campaigner, together with my experience in the Party as an organiser and foot soldier make me an ideal candidate for steering committee membership, and someone who can help take our party to the next level. I am gutted I cannot be at Conference as I will be abroad, but I am available on social media for any questions you may have on my candidacy. Thank you!


Francesca Pridding


I am Francesca Pridding and I am asking for you to vote for me to become part of the Steering Committee. I am a Town Clerk from rural Mid-Wales, the mother of twin 18 year-old daughters. I am a strategist, a peace keeper, a budget planner, a negotiator, a recruiter and a debater. I am looking for the opportunity to really make a difference to the lives of women in the world and and I am passionate about this cause.

I hope to help greater engagement with women who would not immediately identify themselves as feminists, I want to engage teenagers, however they identify, and develop strategies for dealing with 21st Century challenges and help educate them in respecting everyone. I want to help develop communications and strategies that bring visible results, that get noticed across the country and in the rest of the world, the Women’s Equality Party is a wonderful vehicle for change and influence across the party spectrum and they’re all starting to listen.

I know we’re winning, we’re breaking down doors every day, let’s keep this momentum and demonstrate how change will be achieved, through compassion, intelligence and a persistence like the world has never seen.


Janet Baker


My name is Janet Baker, and I’m a founding member of The Women’s Equality Party

I’m a service brat – my father was in the RAF - and I spent my childhood constantly moving around. I learned when and how to fit in - and when to stand my ground.

I’m a self-employed painter/decorator and have run my own business for the past 15 years. It’s hard work, tiring and grubby – but I love it. I’m responsible for making the changes happen. I don’t expect anyone to do something I’m not prepared to do myself.

In May, I stood for election as a councillor. I’m proud and amazed at what WE achieved, and I’m determined to do it again. I spoke at hustings, post show panels and a charity dinner. Working together, WE convinced 24% of the voters to choose me and WE! That’s what a difference we can make by being part of the political conversation.

I’m not part of an elite, and come with no political baggage except what I've learned as an active grass-roots WE member. So, I'll do as I've always done: look at any problem from all sides and find a workable solution.


Leila Fazal


My father’s an Asian immigrant, my mother a single-parent. I came from a deprived area riddled with racism and poverty during Thatcher’s era. This fuelled my drive for equality from an early age.  

Aged 5, at a school assembly I had to say what I wanted to be when older. “A ballet dancer, and the Prime Minister because I want to stop black people being picked on.”

Aged 16 I embarked on political activism – protesting with my mum’s severely disabled friend for disability access to the town hall. We won.

Education was my ticket out of poverty. From the age of 14 I worked to fund my degree in history and women’s studies. At university I learnt to analyse, debate and apply a feminist lens.    

I’m a charity’s Head of Funding, assisting it’s growth to £15m. During my career I’ve worked on gender equality, environmentalism, peacebuilding, corruption, housing, health and children in care.

I’m the Lambeth co-branch leader, a dedicated canvasser, WE’s voluntary fundraising mentor and was an election paper candidate. 

My dream of ballet broke along with my ankle. As for being Prime Minister, I’ll settle for using my skills as a Committee Member to get WE into power.


Nicola Hobson


Nicola Hobson - WEP founding member. Active Exeter Branch member with fundraising portfolio.

I believe I bring different skills to the party. My background is in advertising & marketing, business development and government contracts. I have a proven track record as a skilled strategist, problem solver and lateral thinker, with a creative mind.

I am good at seeing a way through complex situations considering different perspectives and making sound decisions. I enjoy working collaboratively as part of a diverse and multifaceted team, recognising the benefits this brings. I have excellent interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, which enables me to liaise and negotiate at all levels and be comfortable in different environments.

On a Development Course my peers wrote that I should continue to: “be supportive and inspiring to those [I] meet” and “support others and challenge [myself] and the status quo.” I have an ability to put ideas across articulately. I am a good negotiator, extremely reliable, loyal ambassador, with strong management skills. My wide experience of running my own business, people management, project management and facilitation gives me a truly all-round perspective on organisational needs.

All of which I would love to dedicate to WEP to make OUR future flourish.


Rebecca Lammers


I’m running for steering committee because I believe in the future of the Women’s Equality Party and I want to help achieve gender equality in the United Kingdom in my lifetime. My work background is in music, social media, entrepreneurship and communications, which are all sectors where women are underrepresented and underpaid. I have run a small business for four years where I have developed excellent use of my skills in budgeting, strategy, development and negotiation. I'm keen to close the gender pay gap and I’ve already helped accomplish this having been a mentor for women in various mentoring programmes over the last few years.

As Co-Branch Leader for Hackney branch I:

  • Helped to grow awareness of the Party during local elections this year
  • Research local issues by reading news articles and council documents
  • Regularly speak with leaders in the community
  • Recruit new and existing members to get involved in Party activist events

Calling myself a feminist is something I’m relatively new to but I'm keen to learn, embrace and implement a feminist ideology in politics. My underlying philosophy for everything that I do for the Party is that by achieving gender equality, our lives and society at large will be better. My main aim in joining Steering Committee is for the Party to prioritize winning elections. The more elected positions the Party holds, the better position we are in to bring in the changes our Party stands for.


Rufus Duits 


I am 38 years old; my wife and I have two daughters - three and a half and 21 months respectively. I am Head of Philosophy at St Paul’s School in London - one of the country’s top performing academic independent schools for boys. I have spearheaded campaigns at the school to tackle homophobia and misogyny and lad-culture, and I am proud to have produced a real and profound shift in the attitudes of our pupils to women and girls and the women’s movement. It can be done. I am committed more widely to forcing changes to our education system that embed equal expectations and opportunities for girls and boys.

I publish philosophical articles. The main foci of my research are semiotics and ethics - in particular, applied ethics issues, such as abortion. I also work as a semi-professional musician when I can, and I am an extremely passionate climber.


Sian Godwin


I have honed my leadership skills and ability to connect and work with all types of women in my work as an Early Years teacher. I now work part time for Oxfordshire Council supporting school staff to work with children with Autism, and Communication and Interaction difficulties. I am also training as a Jungian psychotherapist, another way of facilitating change!

I have been a governor for a special school, a volunteer befriender for the Family Association’s ‘Link Up for Women’ scheme, and for Tandem, a project to support mentally ill. I have worked for Cruse Bereavement Counselling and sat on the PTA needless to say!

I am presently challenging my training organisation, having run up against ‘a patriarchal block’ to my making further progress. I am challenging them to ‘modernise’ and improve their approach to teaching and learning so as to take more account of the diverse range of teaching and learning styles. Two of my most fundamental values that I share with WEP are diversity and inclusion. I passionately believe that it is only by honouring, respecting and relating to difference and uniqueness in people that we can co-create a society that will take us into the future!


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