On International Women’s Day 2016, the Women’s Equality Party celebrated its first birthday. In just a year, this movement has grown to encompass 72 branches across the British Isles; tens of thousands of members and supporters; and now WE are standing candidates for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh and London Assemblies and London Mayoral elections.
Up here in Scotland, WE celebrated Women’s Day with events in Glasgow and Edinburgh. I attended Lothian’s evening talks at the Festival Theatre, from 5-8.30pm, which began with a set from comedian Susan Morris. Susan has that enviable talent of making history come alive, as we witnessed in storytelling around Lizzie MacFarlane, a destitute mill heiress who dedicated her adulthood to socialism and was the first person to translate Marx’s ‘Communist Manifesto’ from its original German to make it accessible to a wider audience.
Following Susan’s fascinating talk, there was an interview between WE Lothian candidate Lee Chalmers and Glasgow Women’s Library board member Claire Stewart, with Lee explaining the brief history of WE, its policies, and the reasons she has put herself forward as a candidate.
There followed an interview between Lee and comedian-actresses Karen Dunbar and Maureen Carr and an audience Q&A. It was fantastic to hear so many people discussing how feminism factors into all walks of life. Lee explained the WE party model, of collaborative inclusivity and non-partisanship in order that WE can work with all parties to ensure equality for all.
Glasgow celebrated WE’s first birthday with a lively social gathering, enjoyed by all, at the Tron Bar. Candidate Anne Beetham and the team were delighted to welcome new faces to their bi-weekly events, for a full discussion on how WE can make obvious and practical differences to Scottish people.
Now let me end with my favourite pun: WE can do this! I have no doubt that WE will achieve in the May 2016 elections.
Branch Founder, WE Stirling