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The comedian Sandi Toksvig has left BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz to co-found the Women’s Equality Party which will press for greater equality between the sexes after the general election.
The Party is the idea of Catherine Mayer, author and editor-at-large at Time magazine. She attended a women and politics talk at the Women of the World Festival in London last month and felt the traditional parties needed more of a push to take a more progressive stance on gender equality.
She says the Party, which is open to men and women, won’t cover issues like Ukraine but will act as a force for galvanising progress on gender equality.
A recent advert for a Party meeting says: “Equality for women isn’t a women’s issue. When women fulfill their potential, everyone benefits. Equality means better politics, a more vibrant economy, a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population and a society at ease with itself.”
The Party says it “will push for equal representation in politics and business to ensure women’s voices are heard at the same volume as men’s. We will urge an education system that creates opportunities for all girls and boys and an understanding of why this matters. We will press for equal pay and equal parenting rights enabling women and men to share opportunity and responsibility in the workplace and at home. We will seek an end to violence against women.”
Last year the Feminist Initiative party in Sweden won 3.1% of the vote and is growing in support. The Fawcett Society says its election monitoring Views Not Shoes initiative shows that while women make up a quarter of electoral candidates, they have got less than a tenth of the media coverage of men.
The study, carried out by Heather Savigny and Dierdre O’Neill of the Universities of Bournemouth and Huddersfield respectively, analyses coverage in the media, examining the reporting of male and female politicians from 16 March to 11 April. It found 92% of articles on the election featured just men; 92% of politicians quoted were men; and 95% of accompanying photographs featured male politicians. In one full week of the campaign (6-10 April), it says, “Samantha Cameron received more coverage than Harriet Harman or Teresa May or mentions of the issue of childcare”.
Picture credit: Wikipedia.