WE are standing candidates across England and Wales in the 2018 local elections.
100 years on from the first women to get the vote, only 1 in 3 of England’s local councillors are women. We need your help to make it 1 in 2. Many of our candidates have never stood for election before, but WE are determined to make 2018 the year more women represent us.
Barnet (West Finchley ward): Amanda Shribman
Amanda, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party Barnet Branch, has been a resident of Barnet for the last 30 years. Amanda will prioritise local education, community services, and care home standards. As a founding member of the Women’s Equality Party, Amanda is passionate about doing politics differently and truly representing what people want. As a committed feminist, Amanda was instrumental in setting up one of the early WEP branches and, since 2017, has been Branch Leader of WEP Barnet. Amanda is a Senior Executive Assistant and works locally in Finchley as a conference organiser and administrator in the pensions industry.
Brent (Queens Park ward): Emma Ko
Emma was born in London and grew up in Hong Kong. She studied chemistry, but forged a career in the media as a screenwriter for TV and film for various broadcasters including BBC, ITV and Channel 4. Emma is a passionate advocate for diversity in media, and is an active member of BAME creative and women’s screenwriting networks, pushing for better representation of BAME people and balanced gender ratios on and behind our screens. Emma joined the Women’s Equality Party as a founding member when it was established in 2015 and took over co-leadership of the Camden branch in 2016.
Bromley (Plaistow & Sundridge ward): Caroline MacVay
As a Councillor Caroline MacVay would offer voters the opportunity to deliver positive change. Caroline started her career as a nurse in the NHS. As a mother of three, she retrained as a Designer and went on to study Art & Architectural History and Cultural Policy and Management. She has worked as a Museum Curator and more recently as a volunteer campaigning for the Women’s Equality Party. Caroline believes that inequality and old-style party politics are stifling local democracy. Voters deserve a voice that is free to champion local concerns, defend vital local services and hold Bromley council to account.
Enfield (Town ward): Tulip Hambleton
Tulip has been an activist for social change previously - she was involved in the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in the 1980’s and ‘90s, ran the Geneva International Women’s Peace Camp for two years, and was also active in the Women’s International Movement for a Nuclear-Free and Independent Pacific. As well as being an IT business analyst and project manager, she has run her own online eco-wine business, and a pop-up eco-wine bar in Enfield Town, with great support from Enfield Council. She has been a volunteer at Enfield’s Forty Hall organic vineyard. She has also previously qualified in homeopathy, naturopathy, Eden Energy Medicine, and French at the Open University. She was originally from New Zealand, and has lived in Enfield with her partner for 10 years.
Exeter (Duryard and St. James ward): Bea Gare
Bea is a former British Diplomat, serving at home and abroad in a number of roles. Most recently she was at the OSCE in Vienna, where she was the Deputy Head of the UK Mission, specialising in politico-military negotiations. She has a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Exeter and she knows Duryard and St James well from her student days. She believes that local government needs to represent the make-up of the local population; but in Exeter only 1 in 3 City Councillors are women, and Duryard and St James has no female representation at the moment. As with diplomatic negotiations, so with local issues - more diverse voices at the table make for better decisions.
Greenwich (Charlton ward): Pamela Ritchie
Pamela is a lifelong South East Londoner and has lived in Charlton since 2004. She is proud to be standing as the Women's Equality Party candidate for Charlton because WE do politics differently. As your councillor, she would be the independently-minded alternative able to bring your perspective to Greenwich council and holding the mainstream parties to account. She will be focused on ensuring residents have their opinions represented to the council. She will prioritise social infrastructure, ensuring that the schools, doctors and transport networks are able to accommodate all residents. Pamela joined the WEP two years ago, because for the first time she felt there was a voice in politics that could truly represented her life experience. She has always worked in a male dominated office environment and has seen friends and family struggle to juggle parental roles with pressure to keep up at work. Caring responsibilities need to be seen for the valuable role in society that they are. She is passionate about representation and believe that every vote should count equally, she is a campaigner for Proportional Representation in Westminster with Make Votes Matter.
Hackney (Dalston ward): Harini Iyengar
Harini is a long-term Hackney resident who has lived in East London for 20 years, raising her three children as a lone parent, working full-time as an equality and human rights barrister, and campaigning as an activist for equality. Like you, Harini and her family rely on local community services, from midwifery, libraries, parks, leisure, education, planning and social care to street cleaning and recycling. Harini is a founding member of WEP, an elected Member of Policy Committee and a national Spokesperson and stood for the Greater London Assembly in 2016 and Parliament in 2017. Harini is standing for Hackney Mayor and Dalston Councillor.
Harrogate (Stray and St Georges ward): Helen Shay
Being a founder member of WEP, Helen sees equality as the way to a better future. As a solicitor, she works to eliminate discrimination and solve problems, and therefore can transfer these skills to the role of councillor. She's lived in Stray Ward, Harrogate with her husband and children for over 20 years, so understand local issues. My trusteeship with a charity for the homeless also helps me appreciate difficulties that should be addressed. Above all, we need more representation by women to be able to answer the challenges that they and their families face today!
Harrogate (Stray and St Georges ward): Jean Laight
Jean's background is in education, working 30 years as a primary teacher then 12 years as an academic. She is married and the mother of four grown up children. She has lived in Harrogate for 24 years and contributed to the community through teaching and volunteering - Mental Health Project, Harrogate Advocacy, teacher/governor. She is a Founder Member of WEP and active branch member, an established activist and campaigner for NEU (NUT) and UCU, and have marched for women's rights on many occasions. She has always been an advocate for fairness. Jean wants to see a fairer and more equal community in Harrogate and will continue to fight for women's rights.
Islington (Hillrise ward): Nikki Uppal
Nikki passionately believes there are more collaborative and effective ways for politics to work for everybody. She practised commercial law for 12 years and have served as a primary school governor since 2014. She lives in Islington with her husband and two daughters. If elected she wants to hold the current Labour dominated council to account and offer a voice to women and girls across Islington, a borough with extreme gaps between poverty and wealth and an acute housing shortage that affects the daily lives of thousands of residents.
Islington (Highbury West ward): Alison Marshall
Alison is a founder member of the Women's Equality Party and has been an active member of the Islington branch since it began. She previously stood as a Women's Equality Party candidate for the Greater London Authority and is a spokesperson on equal pay. Now she is proud to be the first Women's Equality Party candidate for Highbury West ward, where she has lived for the last fourteen years. Alison is passionate about representing the priorities of local residents, and championing equality. She is standing for election to bring a new perspective and new issues to Islington Council which is dominated by the Labour Party. Alison is Director of a disability charity, and enjoys playing tennis locally.
Lambeth (Brixton Hill Ward): Janet Baker
Janet is a founding member of WE - it just seemed like a no-brainer to her. Janet was fed up with the system and how it fails so many people - so she became part new one. One that puts the voices of women and girls at the heart of it's policies. She's gone from cynic to candidate in three years. Janet is a painter and decorator, and has lived in Brixton for 20 years with her partner, their daughter, dog and cat. She's very involved in her local community, from fighting McDonalds, to keeping helping the streets clean and safe - as often with a paint brush as a campaign leaflet!
Leeds (Headingly & Hyde Park ward): Louise Jennings
Louise is the Women’s Equality Party candidate for Headingley and Hyde Park because she believes we should not be limited by gender and equality is better for everyone. Louise has worked in STEM and academia in Leeds for the past 20 years, and, after having never been interested in politics before, joined the Women’s Equality Party as soon as she found out about it! Louise has recently become a parent governor of her son’s primary school.
Lewisham (Ladywell ward): Rebecca Manson Jones
Rebecca joined the Women’s Equality Party because she wants to do politics differently. She lives in Ladywell ward, she's a school governor, a community volunteer and she expects to grow old here. She's determined that this strong, diverse and vibrant community stays this way and becomes even more inclusive. She wants to ensure that women and girls are given every opportunity to participate and thrive in the changes coming our way and that whilst austerity continues to bite, women’s and children’s services are protected.
Lewisham (Brockley ward): Kate Vang
Kate has been speaking up for equality her whole life and believe we are all better off when women’s voices are heard by policy makers. She is a proud Lewisham local, active in the community and my allotment. She will listen to residents and speak up on your behalf to tackle challenges we all face like housing, education, safety and social care.
Lewisham (Central ward): Mandu Reid
Mandu is a Lewisham Central resident and for nine years she was a governor at a Lewisham primary school. She founded The Cup Effect to address the issues faced by women and girls living in poverty in Kenya and the UK and has spoken up for women and girls at The Ministry of Justice and to the Kenyan Government. She's also worked in local government playing a key role in the preparations and delivery of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. She will be a tireless and committed councillor for all of Lewisham’s residents.
Manchester: Jo Heathcote
Manchester: Sam Johnson
Samantha is standing in Deansgate, Manchester, having lived there since 2013. Out of 13 candidates she is one of two women. Her work and volunteering give her a great understanding of the diverse inner-city demographic. She has worked for a city centre charity supporting homeless and young people and now fundraises for a disability organisation. Sam has volunteered for grassroots community groups, promoting refugee and LGBT+ rights and joined WE as a founding member, volunteering in the Manchester branch. Sam aims to widen political engagement and representation and promote a safe, green, healthy, equal city with accessible housing and services.
Reading (Peppard ward) : Wendy Thomson
Wendy has lived in Reading for over 20 years and in Peppard Ward for a decade. She studied at the University of Reading and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Wendy has worked as an accountant; in marketing, tutoring and supporting the creative arts. She joined the Women's Equality Party in 2015 and helped found the Reading branch. Wendy has campaigned on many local issues including the austerity cuts to the performing arts centre, women’s domestic abuse refuge and children’s centres.
Richmond (Twickenham Riverside ward): Caroline Rayfield
Caroline is the deputy leader and Treasurer of the Richmond Branch of the Women's Equality Party which has been up and running for 18 months now. Caroline has lived in Twickenham Riverside for 7 years and is a working mum of three daughters aged 6 and under. She has been involved in several local campaigns including the creation of a Buffer Zone to prevent protestors harassing women outside the local abortion clinic and the fairer funding for schools campaign.
Sheffield (Walkley ward): Anne Butler
Ann is standing in Walkley Ward in Sheffield. Ann has worked and owned a business in this part of the city. She will push for equal representation within the Council so that policies and decisions deliver gender equality. Ann is an experienced campaigner for gender equality and she will work with local employers to make sure women are paid fairly for their work. She will fight for childcare that works for everyone. Ann is passionate about doing politics differently. She will listen to what they need and will put local residents at the heart of decision-making.
Shipley (Baildon ward): Cat Crossley
Southwark (Borough and Bankside ward): Eileen Scholes
Lifelong feminist, unapologetic baby boomer and LGBTQ campaigner, Eileen is active in WE’s Southwark branch, and the party nationally. Her constant aim is to expose how preconceptions about gender hold back our society at every level. Originally a journalist, Eileen managed a successful media agency employing 50+ people before heading up PricewaterhouseCooper's UK Communications Practice, becoming an advisor to the BBC’s New Media division and finally a Whitehall civil servant. 68-years-old Eileen lives in East Dulwich with her female partner and two teenage daughters. Two sons from a previous marriage have so far gifted her four grandchildren.
Southwark (Goose Green ward): Claire Empson
Claire has lived and or worked in the Goose Green ward for the last 15 years and lives with her two tweenage boys who went to the local community primary school in the ward from nursery to leaving for secondary school. Claire runs a small voluntary project, Think BIG, in South London which encourages young women to become entrepreneurs, a support and networking group for mums in business in East Dulwich and is the director of award winning Lettings & Estate Agency Daisy Lets & Sales, which has been based within the ward for the last 10 years. Claire was a founder member of the Women’s Equality party and is currently a co-branch leader for Southwark
Stockport (Offerton): Dianne Coffey
Born to parents who believed in women’s equality, Dianne was disappointed to learn not everyone thought the same way when she went out into the working world so she was very pleased to become a founder member of the Women’s Equality Party. Formerly an English and Drama teacher, Dianne spent 30 years working in comprehensives. In that time she was delighted to see girls beginning to take higher education seriously and getting good results but at the same time she was dismayed to see how their achievements were disparaged. In this election her concern is poor social care and the under-valued workers who provide it because last year Stockport’s care homes were judged the most ‘inadequate’ in England. She believes equal representation in a council currently consisting 63 members of whom only 19 are female would be more motivated to address these issues. Now she's a voluntary reading helper in a local school and help in the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
Tower Hamlets (Bethnal Green ward): Jessie Macneil-Brown
Jessie has been a proud Tower Hamlets resident for 12 years. A successful global campaigner she has helped to change laws in countries around the world positively impacting rights for women and girls on issues including human trafficking and sexual and reproductive health. Concerned by the growing inequality in her area Jessie started the Tower Hamlets branch in 2017. Jessie is campaigning against the privatisation of public nurseries and calling for affordable childcare, she will fight to re-open women’s only refuges and demand better action to combat sexual harassment. Tower Hamlets needs more women in the decision making process, only 26% of councillors are currently women.
Tunbridge Wells (Culverden ward): Liz Orr
Liz is standing in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Election in Culverden ward. With just 16 women out of 48 councillors on the Borough Council and three male Conservatives in her ward that is not equal representation. She wants to provide an opposition to the existing status quo and bring diversity and a much needed different and woman's voice to the council. The single most important thing for getting women back into work is universal free childcare, equal maternity and paternity leave and properly funded nursery places. She wants to change the conversation about that. In addition, with an increase in council tax and cuts in community services, which invariably impact more on women, she is concerned about the massive borrowing for the new civic centre and will be demanding a halt to the existing plan, and transparency and accountability thereafter.
Worcester (Bedwardine ward): Leisa Taylor
Leisa has lived and worked in Worcester for 25 years after settling here following studying here at the university. She is now married and raising my daughter here. She managed the youth centre in the St. John’s area for around 4 years, working with young people from across Dines Green, Lower Wick and St. John’s. She wants to see more women involved in decision making - less than a quarter of our city councillors in Worcester are women - without someone who is there to genuinely speak up for women we'll never thrive. Local gender pay gap reporting has shown that all but a few of the city's biggest employers do not value women's contribution and women are feeling this and want their city to address it. Local women's services have been cut resulting in closures and competitive tendering which means the focus is not on the people that need the services the most. She believes it’s time for a new politics that puts local people above political parties, rejects old style town hall politics and listens to residents - the message we're hearing on the doorstep is that people feel disengaged, disillusioned and disempowered. It's time for change and now's the time because equality is better for everyone.