Women’s Equality Party in Hackney mayoral bid

Left to right, Harini Iyengar and Catharine Mayer. Pic: Begum Whitehead

Left to right, Harini Iyengar and Catharine Mayer. Pic: Begum Whitehead

While many in Hackney may not have heard of the Women’s Equality Party, Catharine Mayer, the co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party and Harini Iyengar mayoral candidate representing the Woman’s Equality Party, are hoping to change that.

When talking about why people should vote for the Women’s Equality Party, Iyengar said: “We really want to change politics and do politics differently. A lot of us in the past who spent many years campaigning where not taken seriously so when we actually said we’re becoming a political party, we said we’re coming for your votes, here we are.”

Iyengar also spoke about the fast growth of the party and the impact it has had on the community; she told ELL: “It’s been really inspiring. We have made a lot of difference in a short space of time. We are waiting to be elected to public office, but simply as candidates, we have had a lot of influence on the political debate.

“I can’t wait for us to get a representative elected, because then everything we do will be magnified.”

Mayer spoke about how politics needs to be more inclusive, she said: “We encourage people to nick our policies. At the 2017 elections, we produced a manifesto which we wrapped with a ribbon and attached a message on reading ‘please steal me’ and hand delivered it to each of the parties. And they have indeed stolen those policies and we welcome that because we’re in politics to make a change however that looks.”

Mayer also made sure to let people know why now is the best time to be voting for the WEP, she said: “By the way we are celebrating the centenary of the representation of the people act when the first women got the vote, we are still absolutely miles from achieving gender equality. If you want to see it, send a message.”

Hackney has been a Labour stronghold for numerous years, however, Iyengar spoke about how the Woman’s Equality Party may just be the change they want to see. She said: “When we go as outsiders into politics, every time we do it we realise more ways in which many people, especially women, are excluded.

“We first started canvassing in 2016 greater London assembly when the party was 9 months old and people hadn’t heard of us. Now people recognise us and know what we’re standing for. We definitely made the right decision wanting to be in the mayoral race.”

The mayoral candidate spoke about the party’s 7 core objectives and that if she were to be elected her first move would be to introduce free universal childcare in Hackney. As a mother of three young children herself, Iyengar knows the issues surrounding the cost of private childcare first-hand.

Summing up, Iyengar said: “I’m very excited, this is very special to me because it’s my home area. The way this party has blossomed has been a really wonderful thing that was very unexpected. There isn’t another party we can compare ourselves to. “

Mayer also said: “Rights and protections that women thought secure are actually being rolled back; we are in a really dangerous period of time. So I am asking people to vote for this party not only because we are creating change by driving things forward, but because if we don’t take action things are going to go backward.”

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