Steering Committee - Women's Equality

Steering Committee

Steering Committee

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.

The Steering Committee is made up of the Party Leader, ten members elected by Party Conference, five members recommended by the Steering Committee and appointed at Party conference, five members randomly selected, representatives of recognised WE Caucuses, and a representative of WE Branches in Scotland.

Your Steering Committee members, as of 2023, are: 

Catherine Mayer
Co-founder and President, Elected Steering Committee Member

Catherine Mayer, an author and journalist, co-founded the Women’s Equality Party. She is also co-founder of Primadonna Festival and co-curator of the Death Festival. Her books include Attack of the Fifty Foot Women: How Gender Equality Can Save the World! In 2022, WH Allen/Penguin published a new, substantially updated edition of her bestselling biography of the Prince of Wales, Charles: The Heart of a King. 

She served as the elected President of the Foreign Press Association in London from 2003-2005. She is on the founding committee of WOW—the Women of the World festival. She was a judge for the 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction. The winner of the FPA Story of the Year in 2010 and shortlisted for the Orwell Prize the following year, she has also been named in Total Politics’ Top Political Journalists, WIE Women in Excellence 2013, Progress 1000 Evening Standard Equality Champion 2016, Oxford University Suffrage Champion 2018, Gender Equality Top 100: Most Influential People in Global Policy 2018 and, with Sandi Toksvig, NatWest Spirit of Everywoman Award 2018.

After the death of her husband, the musician Andy Gill, she took on his unfinished projects, releasing two EPs by his band Gang of Four, and acting as executive producer for a tribute album, The Problem of Leisure: A celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four featuring globally famous musicians. She continues to manage his estate and run his recording studio.


Mandu Reid
Leader of the Party

In April 2019, Mandu became the first person of colour to lead a national political party in British history when she took the helm at the Women’s Equality Party. Prior to that she spent 12 years working at City Hall for all three Mayors of London. In 2015 she founded The Cup Effect - a charitable social enterprise, advocacy, and campaigning organisation that tackles period poverty in the UK and globally.


Chris Paouros
Elected Steering Committee Member and Chair of the Executive Committee

Chris is a highly strategic and commercially astute business and charity leader, with 25 years of experience in start-ups and SMEs, and a specialism in organisational cultures, reinvigoration and growth. Chris is also Vice-Chair of Kick It Out, football’s anti-discrimination and Inclusion charity; Treasurer of Just Like Us, an LGBT+ charity for young people; is on the Board of the Football Supporters’ Association, Supporter representative on FA Council, a member of the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board and Non-Executive Director of Leaders Unlocked, a social enterprise giving young people a voice.

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. 


Annie Rickard
Chair of the Steering Committee

Annie has spent a long career in media and advertising ultimately running a global business. She is now a partner in an International  consulting business working in Out of Home Advertising.

She is passionate about women's rights and equality and believes in the importance of supporting and mentoring young women.  The Women’s Equality Party is a natural home.


Erin Mansell
Elected Steering Committee member

Erin is a life long feminist, she went to Greenham Common as a baby and was marched around her small town on the Isle of Wight by her mum on International Women’s Day. Erin worked on the WE staff team from 2017 to 2020 and is now Head of Communications and Public Affairs at the Women’s Budget Group - a network of volunteers, academics, women’s voluntary organisations and policy experts whose aims are to promote a gender equal economy.


Janet Baker
Elected Steering Committee member

Janet is a founding member of WEP, elected to the steering committee in 2018, re-elected on 2020 stood for local election 2018 and 2021, active branch member, canvasser and campaigner.

She’s still a self-employed painter and decorator, but she also runs a community centre in South London on Tooting Common. She ran Lambeth’s emergency food service during lockdown (the maddest, hardest and best job in the world) and has become more involved with solutions to food poverty and working within and with many community groups. “I think community working together is the most powerful thing ever - lockdown proved it, now it’s vital we continue”

Mum, dog owner and general arsey woman.


Sellisha Lockyer
Appointed Steering Committee member

Sellisha is a gender and race equity activist. Passionate about intersectionality, her activism has included founding the Women's Equality Party's Race Equality Caucus, presenting a motion to update the 2010 Equality Act to include socio-economic status as a protected characteristic at Party Conference and contesting as a List Candidate for the 2020 GLA election. Sellisha has given talks and presentations on intersectionality as well as advising on racial inclusion. For her day job Sellisha brings her passion for equality to her role as a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Consultant, supporting organisations on their Diversity and Inclusion journey. This includes conducting D&I audits, redesigning recruitment processes, progressive policy development, designing and delivering D&I training, diversity data analysis and a focus on facilitating systemic culture change.


Hannah Barham-Brown 
Appointed Steering Committee member

As a disabled woman, Hannah is acutely aware of the many inequalities faced by huge swathes of our population. She campaigns fiercely for equality for all, regularly appearing in local and national media on a range of topics. She also loves a game of ‘Intersectionality Bingo’ - if politics isn’t intersectional, she will call it out! Hannah has built up a considerable social media following with her unique blend of wit, frustration and linguistic eyebrow raising.

Having created the campaign group “Junior Doctors - Our Lives in Your Hands” during her final year of medical school, Hannah went on to cut her political teeth as a trade unionist in the British Medical Association (BMA), where she is a member of their Council and the only junior on the national Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review Steering Group. She is training as a GP in Leeds part time and, following her two TEDx talks, travels around the UK speaking about equality, Disability and inclusion. Through her work with the BMA, she has benefited from formal Leadership and Media training programmes and has gained a reputation for asking the difficult questions and coming up with unique solutions.

After she left the Labour Party, Hannah found a new home in WEP when she was invited to speak on a panel on ‘Women’s Health’ at the 2018 Conference. By the end of that day she had joined the party, and she has since thrown herself in as a Council candidate, an EU Parliamentary candidate and now Branch Leader in her hometown of Leeds. Hannah passionately advocates for intersectionality and collaborative politics, and sees the future of the party as one that combines guerrilla tactics with taking on the role of ‘critical friend’ in order to influence and shape the political landscape.

In November 2021, Hannah contested the North Yorkshire PFCC by-election. The by-election took place after the previous PFCC, Philip Allott, resigned following his victim blaming comments made about the murder of Sarah Everard. The campaign received our most successful regional election result to-date receiving a huge 10% of the vote!


Kay Wesley
Appointed Steering Committee member

Kay Wesley is a Town Councillor in Congleton and Chief Executive of an international digital company working in the healthcare sector. Kay started the Cheshire East Branch of the Women’s Equality Party in 2015 and was the first WEP Councillor elected in the UK.  Kay wrote Congleton Town Council’s EDI Policy which has been adopted to apply to all Council business. Kay is on the Cheshire East Domestic and Sexual Abuse Partnership Board and the Cheshire Police EDEI Board and is a Trustee of Congleton Pride.  Kay played a lead role in Congleton Town Council becoming White Ribbon Accredited and initiated the provision of new Domestic Abuse services locally. Kay has been part of the focus group on the national Local Government Civility and Respect Project, and introduced the White Ribbon campaign to the National Association of Local Councils, who agreed to become Accredited. Kay is also involved in climate emergency projects, especially community engagement around carbon emission reduction, integrated transport and biodiversity.


Holly Rothwell
Elected Steering Committee member

Holly Rothwell is a campaigner in the humanitarian sector, working on creating a fair economy. She finds courage, tenacity and compassion to be the most valuable qualities for success as a campaigner. Before this, she spent seven years managing e-commerce and festival retail teams for Oxfam, where she won the Joe Mitty Award for retail innovation. 

Holly holds an MA in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response from the University of Manchester, and is currently writing a PhD proposal about the opportunities that blockchain technologies will present for humanitarian aid.

Holly has been a Women’s Equality Party branch leader, campaigner and canvasser. Supporting young women to take their first steps in politics is Holly’s favourite aspect of the Party. She’s excited to join the Steering Committee and to work to create the real political change women in the UK need and deserve.


Charlotte Mead
Elected Steering Committee member

Charlotte is a founding member of the party and jointly ran the Sheffield branch for 6 years.  She has a voluntary and public sector background which has included working with young people and volunteers, advising individuals in the housing sector and is currently the Data Protection Officer for a large public services organisation.

Charlotte has been political with a small 'p' since her early 20s but had never joined a political party before WE came along.



Elisha Foust
LGBTQI+ Caucus Representative 

Elisha is a Business Operations leader with a long career in the technology industry. She’s a founding member and in 2018, she created the WE LGBTQI+ network, a space for LGBTQI+ members and our allies to build community and create partnerships with the wider LGBTQI+ community in the UK.  The network grew into the LGBTQI+ Caucus, which takes a truly intersectional approach to feminism and LGBTQI+ rights.

Elisha is passionate about intersectional feminism and believes that the Women’s Equality Party is revolutionary in its approach and achievements.


Andrea Wilson 
Party Treasurer and Elected Member of the Steering Committee

Andrea is a founding member of the Richmond branch and has run canvassing and knocked doors in 5 elections, striking up conversations about what matters to people since 2016. Andrea’s professional background is in international marketing research and strategy and she is a Trustee of a digital learning charity, Learn and Thrive. She has had budget and planning responsibilities worldwide and has worked across many different sectors. An experienced cross-cultural leader, Andrea advocates for dialogue, partnerships, and evidence-based decisions to create change. A Cumbrian, Andrea lives in London.


Sarabajaya Kumar
Appointed Steering Committee member

Sarabajaya is a scholar-activist teaching and researching about the non-profit sector, leadership, and equalities. She contested the GLA elections in 2021 and is a proud Haringey branch member. She is active in civil society, is a disability rights advocate, and is committed to developing the next generation of feminist activists.


Olivia Vinceti 
Race Equality Caucus Representative 

I have a lot to offer having had a 30-year career working as a senior manager in several London boroughs as well as in the voluntary sector: leading and managing children and family services, teams, and multi-agency programmes; delivering organisational development and transformation; coaching and mentoring. I want to continue to use all my skills, knowledge, and experience to fight for social justice, equalities and tackling the climate crisis. Global majority people and poor communities are the hardest hit by conservative and environmentally damaging policies. Our voices, perspectives and solutions are needed to shape social and economic policies that benefit everyone. I am totally committed to eliminating oppression of any kind, and in particular, racial and gender equality.  I have worked hard to understand the impact of oppressions on myself, my family and my community and society. There is still much to learn, and I am eager to do so. I have a deep understanding and appreciation of building partnerships to achieve the best outcomes. In 2016, I joined the Women’s Equality Party. I am co-leader of the Barnet Branch and a former European Parliament candidate for London 2019. In 2022 stood in the local council elections. I also volunteer with a national children’s charity and an international peer counselling organisation focused on addressing emotional barriers to movement building and on healing from damage and separation caused by oppression.


Jemma Brown
Disability Caucus Representative 

Jemma is a campaigner with a long history of activism for disability rights. She is the co-leader of WE’s disability caucus, and is the caucus’s representative on the Steering Committee. Jemma specialises in accessibility issues. She has multiple disabilities, which only spur her work on. She lives in Southampton.

Jemma has a long history of volunteering. She works in safeguarding, teaching tech skills to adults with disabilities, social media management, and delivering accessibility training. Her journalism background led to her becoming a social media influencer, so she’s now focused on using social media for good.

Her proudest moment was giving evidence to a local scrutiny panel enquiry looking at Southampton’s accessibility, which included addressing the cabinet and led to the formation of an access forum. Jemma loves tech and dogs – she’s waiting for her third guide dog – and spends much of her free time gaming.


Patrice Blackstock 
Elected Steering Committee Member

Patrice Blackstock is dedicated to helping to create a more equitable and just society. She has particular interest and expertise in disability inclusion, intersectionality and social mobility. Currently working as a Senior Project Manager within the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion space and she has over 13 years' experience working across the Education, Public, not-for-profit and Legal sectors.

Her previous roles have included Student Learning Advisor, English Lecturer, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator and Adoption Panel Member. Patrice has also volunteered in her local community as a School Governor and Restorative Justice Panel Member.



Charlotte Kendall
Randomly Selected Steering Committee Member

I’m excited to join the Steering Committee as a member of the Women’s Equality Party. As a feminist, I joined the party as ultimately, I want to see real change in a world that quite simply undervalues, underestimates, and underpays women’s efforts, time, and contributions. With my background of working in secondary and higher education: including a Teacher of History, Senior Careers Coach, and Education Manger, I am looking forward to having an active role in helping to highlight and dismantle the patriarchal structures that systematically oppress women.


Kirsty Pearson
Randomly Selected Steering Committee Member

Kirsty is a member of the Steering Committee and has been a member of the party since 2017. She has worked in the education sector for over 15 years. Kirsty is a working mum and has three children and lives in the North West.






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