Meet Mandu - Leader of the Women’s Equality Party
"Politics has never been in greater need of new ideas, fresh ways of doing things and creative leadership. We are the party that has those ideas in droves and I am bringing energy and creativity to lead us to electoral victory, to campaign victories, and to growth in our membership both in number and in representation. I am a passionate feminist. And to me, feminism is all about fairness and society fulfilling its potential."
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.
Working at City Hall
Tackling period poverty
In 2015 she founded The Cup Effect - a charitable social enterprise, advocacy, and campaigning organisation that tackles period poverty in the UK and globally.
Top 100 most influential people in global gender policy
Success as party leader
Deputy Leader for Sustainability
Growing up on a council estate in Liverpool, society's expectations of what Tabitha could be were narrow. Add to this no formal education from age 10 and a strict religious upbringing, her options virtually disappeared. Books were always her window into the world, allowing her to see a future beyond her limited horizons and then to build this future. The knowledge that boundaries are only ever someone else's idea of what you can be, or a way to exert control, drive her activism. Tabitha believes that power is only useful if it’s used for the greater good. If you use power to make real changes so that the furthest in our communities are supported, that’s where the magic happens.
Today Tabitha is CEO of cross-party campaigning organisation More United where she has grown the organisation from a start up to a membership organisation of 150,000 backing 64 MPs from six parties. Her commercial knowledge was honed from 15 years in the construction industry and being the first woman to be on the UK board of her organisation. Tabitha has a track record of developing strong teams and robust income streams in both the private and political sectors.
Tabitha believed politics was for other people and saw activism and politics as two very different things. Joining WEP as a founder member turned these ideas upside down. She felt like she had come home. Part of a national movement of people who were not just calling out inequalities but actively working to dismantle them. So when the opportunity to centre ending violence against women and girls (EVAWG) in the 2017 Liverpool City Region Mayoral election meant running as a candidate, Tabitha stepped up. Her campaign resulted in the newly elected Mayor making EVAWG a priority and asking Tabitha to help write the strategy. Tabitha has had various roles in the party, including leading the Liverpool City Region Branch branch, Hackney Council candidate and she is currently a London Assembly candidate and Spokesperson for EVAWG on the Policy Committee.
Deputy Leader for Community and Connectedness
Christine is a child of Caribbean migrants, mother of two and wife. Her beliefs and value system have been shaped by her parent’s experiences, her inner-city upbringing and state school education. She has overcome the prejudice and the challenges of preconceived stereotypes and of being a woman of colour navigating every aspect of life whilst striving for professional recognition.
As a former family lawyer, Christine worked extensively in the area of child social care/child protection, advising and representing women on domestic violence and social care issues. She is passionate about fighting for women’s equality and improving women’s ability to be heard.
Christine became politically active when she joined the Women’s Equality Party in 2018. She wanted to raise awareness of inequalities and to help effect meaningful change via policies that impact women’s daily lives. She was elected as Waltham Forest Branch leader in February 2019, as a List Candidate for Greater London Assembly in March 2019, and to the Policy Committee as Movement Builder for ending violence against women and girls in January 2020. All of her current roles, including being on the BAME Caucus Committee, will complement her appointment as Deputy Leader responsible for Community and Connectedness.
Deputy Leader for Making Change Happen
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.
The Policy Committee is elected by party members to develop, champion and be custodians for our fantastic policies. They help the party raise awareness of, and support for, our policies; gather intel from and develop relationships with organisations and individuals working on our policy goals; create momentum around political opportunities for progress towards our policies; and, engage and inspire existing and prospective members to take action and win change.
While our Democracy Commission is underway and until our 2022 party conference, the Policy Committee will be working together on the following:
- Acting as spokespeople across the party’s seven policy areas
- Developing a manifesto for the 2022 local elections
- Preparing policy motions for conference and ensuring the coherence and consistency of other policy motions
- Coordinating our response to relevant national consultations
- Updating the Policy Document
- Supporting longer term policy development and helping the party work through policy conflicts
They will also work with the Democracy Commission to develop a blueprint for the next phase of the Policy Committee, based on input from members.
Kathryn is extremely passionate about tackling the Gender Pay Gap - she is a founding member of the Women’s Equality Party and co-leader of the Manchester branch. She finds it shocking that the UK still has a significant Gender Pay Gap, and many organisations still don’t believe that they need to try and close their Gap, as they believe it's due to women’s choices!
Kathryn is a qualified accountant and has several years’ experience working in senior management positions to effect organisational change. She is on the Board of a large, national charity, and is responsible for shaping strategy and ensuring good governance. She has worked with organisations on their Gender Pay Gap reporting and has run pop-up stalls educating the public on the issue.
Tabitha believes ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) is the most important of our 7 core objectives. While it’s still acceptable for women to be raped and killed, none of us will be free. She believes we must end this epidemic of violence to achieve true equality.
Tabitha currently leads WEP’s work to end VAWG:
• She has implemented an end VAWG strategy with the Metro Mayor of Liverpool.
• She is working with the branch in Manchester to do the same.
• She has introduced a campaign model for branches that takes activists on a journey to becoming experts on ending VAWG in their area.
Tabitha has a strong track record of both press and broadcast interviews for WEP and am often requested to comment both locally and nationally on VAWG matters, as well as receiving invitations to speak publicly at conferences and events.
Christine was the Waltham Forest Branch Leader, a List Candidate for GLA 2020 elections and a member of the BAME caucus. She is a former family lawyer with over 20 years’ experience representing women and young girls who were subject to domestic violence and abuse.
Her experience gives her a unique insight into the current problems and failings in the protection available for women and young girls today. Christine wants to play a part in shaping more effective and female-focused violence prevention policies. She has an excellent working knowledge of the party's policies on VAWG.
Meet the WE staff team
We are a small and determined team who work hard to achieve the aims of the Party. We consider ourselves lucky to work alongside an army of volunteers who support us with everything from video-editing and website development to branch building and election planning. Find out more about volunteering with central office.
Cath Smith, Head of Campaigns
Cath leads on our national campaigns and elections. She is passionate about getting WEP representatives elected and driving change at a local and national level.
Hannah Peaker, Chief of Staff
Hannah is responsible for operationalising the Party's strategy, managing the central office team and is the Leader's right-hand woman.
Clementine Forster, Chief Operating Officer
Clementine is responsible for the strategic operational and financial management of the party. Clementine has a second full time job (sadly unremunerated) called ‘being a mother’. Before she had two full time jobs, she enjoyed not realising how much free time and money she had. She is now determined to support the party in delivering political solutions to the inequalities still faced by women in the UK, including the lack of recognition of, or support for, unpaid care work.
Amy Killen, Campaigns Manager
Amy began her involvement with the Women's Equality Party as a grassroots activist right from its beginnings in 2015. Since then she has brought her experience and expertise to the Central Office team as Campaigns Manager where she focuses on developing and managing campaigns including elections, electoral strategy, electoral compliance and national campaigning.
Eleanor Leone, Finance and Operations Co-Ordinator
Aimee Williams-Maynard, Members and Supporters Officer
Aimee is the members and supporters officer. She manages the day-to-day work of recruiting, engaging and retaining the party's members and supporters and responding to member enquiries and requests.
Jess Gelsthorpe, Fundraising and Events Coordinator
Helena Moody, Digital Communications Coordinator
Helena is responsible for the party’s digital communications including the paid and organic social media strategy, website maintenance, email schedule and content design. She is passionate about building our online profile to raise awareness and drive interest in the party.
Monika Radojevic, Policy and Communications Officer
Monika supports campaigns and elections work and is responsible for coordinating the Party's policy-related communications. She is also a writer and award-winning poet.
Deborah Fiorin, Members and Supporters Manager
Deborah manages activity to recruit, engage and retain our valued members and supporters.
Catherine Mayer, President
Catherine is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist with a career spanning The Economist, the German news weekly FOCUS and TIME magazine. Her most recent book 'Attack of the Fifty Foot Women: How Gender Equality Can Save the World!' includes the story of why in 2015 she co-founded the Women’s Equality Party. She served as elected president of the Foreign Press Association in London, is on the founding committee of WOW - The Women of the World Festival and was a judge for the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction. She is the Executive Director of the think tank, Datum Future.
Catherine is the President of the Women’s Equality Party.
Chris Paouros, Chair of the Executive Committee
Chris is a highly strategic business and charity leader, specialising in the growth of small organisations on a global scale. Chris is a Trustee of Kick It Out, football’s Equality and Inclusion organisation; Just Like Us, an LGBT+ charity for young people; is on the Board of the Football Supporters’ Association 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.
Leila is a mixed-race London resident, a dedicated charity worker for over 20 years and an avid equality rights campaigner. Leila recognises the deprivation, racism and sexism she experienced in her childhood does not have to be the reality. Society can, and should, be equal. She dedicates her spare time to WEP canvassing and sitting on the Executive, Steering and BAME Caucus Committees. She has also stood as a WEP councillor candidate and is currently standing as a GLA candidate.
Annie has spent a long career in media and advertising ultimately running a global business.
She is passionate about womens' rights and equality, and believes in the importance of supporting and mentoring young women. the Women's Equality Party is a natural home.
Francesca lives by the sea in Mid Wales and has twin daughters. She reads avidly, she writes badly, and she plays hockey with a level of aggression usually reserved for rugby. She loves live music and the theatre.
WEP is her only political home; until WEP she felt as if she was just screaming into a political abyss - now she's found her crowd...she's much louder!
As a Town Clerk, Francesca project-manages virtually everything for their town; from Summer planting to Christmas lights, allotments to skate parks. She also makes sure the Councillors stay on the straight and narrow.
The Steering Committee is made up of the Party Leader, The Party’s Life President and Life M.C, ten members elected by Party Conference, five members recommended by the Steering Committee and appointed at Party conference, and five members randomly selected.
Your Steering Committee members, as of 2021, are: