Pledge to vote for the Women's Equality Party on 🍊orange🍊 on 6th May
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The COVID crisis laid bare the shameful inequalities at the heart of our society, with the most marginalised hit hardest by both the virus and the economic turmoil it caused.
Women make up a staggering 98% of those doing the highest risk jobs for poverty wages, domestic abuse has gone through the roof, and it is overwhelmingly women who have shouldered the additional responsibility for unpaid care and childcare during the last year. This May’s elections are a vital opportunity to send a message to those in power and to elect a Women’s Equality Party representative to the London Assembly to shape how we build back from this crisis.
The London elections on the 6th May 2021 are special, the electoral system is fairer meaning that every vote counts and smaller parties always win seats. You can also vote for multiple parties as there is more than one ballot paper so you can share your vote to ensure that you have the most impact on final results.
The orange ballot paper decides which candidates will join the London Assembly to make real change happen. Last year, as a party that was just months old, we achieved 3.5% of the overall vote - and need just 5% to get a seat. This year, WE can win.
What are the Women's Equality Party's main policies?
Invest in Care
Care workers are overwhelmingly female, disproportionately marginalised, undervalued and underpaid. A vote for WEP would guarantee a London living wage for all care workers in the city, investment in a care-led recovery by supporting people to retrain as health and care workers, a historic rebalance of public spending with pound-for-pound investment in physical and social infrastructure, and we would prioritise the reopening of respite care and other support to unpaid carers.
End Violence against women and girls
COVID has led to a shocking increase in domestic abuse, but we must not pretend that our city’s violence crisis started there. Just 3% of rape cases now result in a conviction and the Met have spent much of the past four years forcing survivors to endure digital strip searches, whilst charging perpetrators at 1/7th of the rate they were when Sadiq Khan first came to office. A vote for WEP would make London a sanctuary city for migrant survivors of abuse who the government excludes from public funds, commit to never turning a woman away from a refuge, do a complete review of Met handling of rape cases - charge rates are 1/7th of what they were five years ago, and refocus funding on the prevention of crime - violence is not inevitable, we need to invest in.
A Wellbeing Economy
There is a crisis of imagination in UK politics. In the face of a global pandemic, the second ‘once in a generation’ economic crisis of the decade, spiraling inequality and irreversible damage to our climate we cannot simply return to business as usual. London can and must learn from the COVID crisis and build a wellbeing economy that serves our whole community. A vote for WEP would push for an economy focused on people rather than profit. Consumption and continual growth serves the most powerful, and it's time to make an economic model that works for everyone.
Ensure we Build Back Equal from the COVID crisis by pledging to vote for the Women Equality Party on the 🍊orange🍊 ballot this May.
Published and promoted by Amy Killen on behalf of Mandu Reid and the Women's Equality Party all at Kemp House, 152-160 City Road, London EC1V 2NX.Sign up
Demand urgent funding for specialist domestic abuse services
Home is not a safe place for everyone. For women facing abuse, the act of staying home to save lives potentially puts their own life in danger. The government is asking these women to risk so much, but have chronically underfunded services - particularly specialist services - to the point that the majority of women seeking refuge are turned away when they need help the most.
Across the country, women and children are being turned away from refuges and specialist services. There are not enough beds, not enough accessible spaces for disabled women and not enough specialist support for LGBT+ or minoritised women. However, just 5% of the emergency funding for abuse services this year has gone to specialist services, and the Government has made no moves to give domestic abuse services the sustainable, long term funding they need.
Nearly 60% of women and children are already turned away refuges in London - equivalent to 2,000 women and their children every year. That number is expected to rise as cases increase, and refuges are forced to reduce or suspend services during COVID. We can and must do better. WE are calling on the government to urgently release additional funding directly to specialist services, and to agree a long term funding settlement to guarantee everyone who flees abuse can access the support they need.
Dear Sadiq Khan,
Despite the fact that streets are emptier and many public spaces are closed, street harassment is still a serious problem. I am calling on you as Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner of London to ensure that women and girls can enjoy their daily exercise and move around our great city free from the fear or threat of violence or abuse.
One in five women and girls in the UK experienced street harassment during lockdown. This figure is far worse in London; more than half of women surveyed by Catcalls of London said street harassment got worse during the lockdowns, and 62% feared for their safety. Our branch in Lambeth conducted their own survey, and found that the most common forms of street harassment were catcalling, wolf whistling or unwanted comments, followed by unwanted physical contact, being followed, or sexual gestures. Respondents also said photos had been taken of them without consent, and perpetrators had even masturbated in front of them.
London remains the worst city in the UK for street harassment and harassment on public transport. In 2016, ActionAid found that nationally, 36% of women feel at risk of harassment from public transport, but that rises to 51% for women living in London. Four years later those numbers have not changed; more than half of women experienced sexual harassment whilst using public transport in 2020, but only 2% felt able to report it.
On International Women’s Day last year, you called for misogyny to be made a hate crime. Yet women are in the same position as they were in when you first became Mayor. We cannot simply wait for Central Government to change the law, and it is within your power to do something about this. Moving more Londoners to walking and cycling is a vital part of fighting Covid and making our city greener, but you cannot ask more women to use our streets without doing anything to ensure they feel safe to do so.
I am calling on you as a ‘Proud Feminist’ to fulfil your promise to make London a beacon of freedom and equality for women and girls, by developing a London-wide strategy to end street harassment and abuse on the transport network, including a public education campaign. I stand ready to work with you to make our streets and transport network safe for all women and girls.
Mandu Reid, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party and candidate for Mayor of London
Parents and Early Years providers are at breaking point and unless the government acts now, women’s unemployment will continue to soar - deepening and lengthening the economic crisis for everyone. This will affect mothers on the lowest incomes most acutely, who are nine times more likely to lose their jobs as a result of the latest school closures and lockdown.
Since March last year parents have been asked to home school their children for 100 working days. The result is that women are more likely to quit their jobs or be made redundant and children are being left behind.
We are calling on the government to introduce urgent measures to keep childcare and parents afloat through lockdown and beyond.
- A legal right to shared furlough or guaranteed Self-Employment Income Support for all parents. Currently, parents only have the right to request furloughing and 75% have been refused.
- Early Years and school staff to be prioritised in the next round of vaccines so that they can reopen safely as soon as possible.
- Increase child benefits to £50 per child and maintain the £20-a-week uplift in universal credit. With children at home, household bills are mounting and forcing families into poverty.
- Ten days extra paid annual leave for all parents and 20 days for single parents to help them manage caring responsibilities without the risk of redundancy.
- A bailout for nurseries to stop them closing permanently.
Dear Sadiq Khan,
We are writing to ask you to make London a Sanctuary City for abused migrant women.
Our city is facing two pandemics, the COVID-19 virus and the violence that it exacerbates. In the last year, rates of domestic abuse and other forms of gender based violence have spiralled across our city, and despite government rhetoric, many migrant women have been left to face that abuse alone.
The government recently announced that it was putting travellers up in quarantine hotels, demonstrating that they have the resources and infrastructure to rapidly house people when there is political will. But they refuse to demonstrate that will, support or funding to ensure that migrant women are not trapped with their abusers.
As you know, the government’s ‘hostile’ or ‘compliant’ environment policies are stopping migrant women from leaving abusive relationships or seeking help. By stamping passports with No Recourse to Public Funds and excluding migrant women from accessing the welfare safety net, the government is denying women and children safe refuge and trapping them at home with their abusers. We can and must do better.
In the last year you have shown leadership on this issue by providing safe accommodation to 200 women fleeing domestic abuse - including migrant women. You have also funded a limited number of temporary bed spaces for women with No Recourse to Public Funds by funding the Covid-19 Crisis Project run by Southall Black Sisters and Solace Women’s Aid, but this is nowhere near enough to meet demand. Many women remain trapped in abuse and without hope of protection and support. Even with the surge in domestic violence during lockdown, which has resulted in a 34% increase in calls to domestic violence hotlines, four in five migrant women are still turned away from refuges - often with children in tow.
We are asking you to go further by overriding the government’s inhumane policies to make London a Sanctuary City, just as Mayors across the US have done in response to Trump’s racist immigration enforcement actions. We are calling on you to ensure that migrant women in London will never be referred to the Home Office if they report their abuse to the police, and to guarantee each woman and her children:
- Safe accommodation
- £50 allowance per week, plus extra for children
- Access to wrap-around specialist support
- Legal advice and representation
Violence is not inevitable. Mayors always have a choice about whether and how to respond to the challenges facing the people and communities they represent.
We urge you to stand up to the government and to defy their inhumane hostile environment policies by ensuring that the most marginalised women are given the sanctuary and support to rebuild their lives. In doing so, you will be sending a message that London must be open and safe, for everyone.
Mandu Reid, Leader of the Women's Equality Party
Pragna Patel, Founder and Director of Southall Black Sisters
Baljit Banga, Executive Director, Imkaan
Rosanna Lewis & Ngozi Fulani, Sistah Space
Jasbindar Bhatoa, Senior Legal Officer, Rights of Women
Gisela Valle, Director, Latin American Women's Rights Service
Halaleh Taheri, Founder & Executive Director, Middle Eastern Women & Society Organisation-MEWSo
Gabriela Quevedo, Director for Advocacy and Influencing, Latin American Women’s Aid
Matt Hawkins, Co-Director, Compassion in Politics
Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive, NIA
Camille Rouse, Legal Advice Service Manager, London Black Women’s Project
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