Second up in our speaker spotlight is Sophie Walker, leader of the Women's Equality Party. Sophie will be joining us here at ROSL for our Women in Politics-themed International Women's Day debate, which will focus the rise of global activism, the media representation of female MPs, and barriers or challenges women wanting to or currently working in the government.
Sophie is the Founding Leader of the Women's Equality Party, Britain's first feminist political part, formed in 2015 to speed up the glacial pace of change and put women's rights at the top of the agenda. It was during a debate on women in politics, held as part of the Women of the World (WOW) Festival at the Southbank Centre, that the suggestion was made by journalist Catherine Mayer to create a party dedicated to the equality of women and founded with the help of broadcaster and author Sandi Toksvig. On the 18 April later that year, the party's name and six core objectives were agreed and on 22 July Sophie was elected unanimously by the Steering Committee to be WEP's leader. Those six main objectives, now seven, are still at the heart of what WEP stands for: equal representation, equal pay and opportunity, equal parenting and caregiving, equal education, equal media treatment, equality in healthcare and medical research, and the end of violence against women. To find out more about WE visit their website here or follow them on Twitter @WEP_UK.
In 2016, Sophie ran for London Mayor on a manifesto to close the city's 23% pay gap and lack of affordable childcare and won one in every 20 votes cast. In 2017, she contested the ‘men’s rights activist’ MP Philip Davies after he filibustered a bill to end violence against women and girls, and helped to halve his constituency majority. A former Reuters correspondent of 20 years, Sophie came to politics via disability campaigning and activism when her daughter was diagnosed with autism. Sophie is also an ambassador for the National Autistic Society and for IncludeMEtoo, supporting disabled children and their families from diverse backgrounds.
Sophie has worked outstandingly and continues to do so for the equality of men and women and we look forward to welcoming her to ROSL on Thursday 8 March. You can follow her personal Twitter @SophieRunning.
This is a public lecture, which you can book onto below. The price includes a glass of wine after the talk which starts at 7pm.