In April 2015, comedian Sandi Toksvig and author Catherine Mayer came up with the idea for a new political party that would deliver equality for women by challenging the other political parties to move faster – and work with them to get the job done.
It was the birth of the country’s first non-partisan political party, uniting people who in the past had voted Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats and Greens but were so frustrated by the glacial pace of advance towards equal rights that they put all other differences aside to campaign together for gender equality.
WE unites people of all genders, ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, sexualities, beliefs and experiences – all of whom understand that equality is better for everyone and that equality for women would bring better politics, a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population, and a society at ease with itself.
Sandi Toksvig recently appeared on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs and talked about her experience of ‘coming out’ in the 1990s, when saying publicly that she was lesbian prompted death threats.
‘I didn’t have a problem,’ she said. ‘Society seemed to have a problem.’
Things have changed since then, but there is still work to do to tackle inequality in many forms. We are tackling the root issues and we offer people who are doubly discriminated against by their gender and other factors such as their sexuality the opportunity to share their experiences and ideas to make things better.
In fact, we have worked with thousands of members and supporters to shape our policies and show that achieving equality isn’t as hard as the other political parties like to make out. It just needs political will and practical action.
We have six core objectives: an end to violence against women and girls, equal pay, equal parenting, equal representation in the media, equality of opportunity in business and politics, and equal education.
We want to establish an education system that inspires all young people to learn and to achieve.
We want to free girls and boys from feeling penned in by limited expectations about what they should be.
And we want children to learn about different kinds of relationships, sexual identities and family structures, in a way that is appropriate and considerate.
To achieve this, WE have set some clear goals.
- introducing gender equality as a criterion in school inspections,
- making sure schools promote role models that challenge gender stereotypes – like Grace Hopper or Ada Lovelace in IT and computing,
- and making age-appropriate relationships education – including on sexual consent – a compulsory part of the school curriculum that is taught by specialist teachers.
WE want to help all young people learn how to behave towards one another with respect as they start to explore sexual relationships, and make the world they have to navigate a more equal one.
As well as our six core objectives, we have two core values: inclusivity and diversity.
WE stand against discrimination of any kind.
WE recognize that the binary words ‘woman’ and ‘man’ do not reflect the gender experience of everyone in our country, and WE support the right of all to define their sex or gender or to reject gender divisions as they choose.
WE wish LGBT History Month every success in educating all young people about why equality matters.
WE are here to deliver that equality for everyone.