Charlotte Mead, branch leader of Sheffield’s Women’s Equality Party (WEP), told JUS News that Labour are “clearly not” the party for gender equality .
Ms Mead said: “When you talk to Labour about equality, particularly gender and sex equality, the first thing they’ll always say is they brought in the Equal Pay Act.
“But that was nearly half a century ago. What have you done since then?”
Ms Mead added: “Labour are not thinking big enough when it comes to gender and sex equality. It’s still a very, very male dominated party.”
Gender equality is at the forefront of WEP’s manifesto. Ms Mead said: “For a start, the council still has a gender pay gap and that needs to be sorted out. It’s about bumping that up the priority list.”
In 2018, the Labour-led Sheffield City Council reported a 8.4% gender pay gap when it came to median hourly wages. The average gender pay gap in the UK in 2018 was 8.6%.
The Sheffield Labour party were not available for comment.
“What a sad state of affairs, that we do have a need for a Women’s Equality Party.”WEP’s branch leader Charlotte Mead on the need for a focus on gender equality in politics.
Ms Mead said: “We are a party that is seeking to re-balance society. Society has been skewed towards men, and men’s needs, and men’s experiences for so long that those are being seen as the norm.
“We are still living in a society which is essentially a patriarchy.
“Equality is better for everybody, it’s not just going to be better for women. Men lose out because we don’t have gender equality.”
Ms Mead pointed to higher suicide rates for men, as well as societal expectations of how men should behave in a patriarchal society to illustrate her point.
If elected, the first thing WEP would do is speak to other councillors about what they’re trying to achieve and see if there is room for collaboration.
Ms Mead’s party are fielding two candidates in the local council elections – Megan Senior in Ecclesall and Amy Gooding in Walkley.
If either are elected, they will be the first WEP councillors in the country.