I’m an infectious disease epidemiologist and mother of two young children. This time last year, when I was preparing to contest the 2020 GLA elections as a Women’s Equality Party candidate, most people had never heard of epidemiology. Fast forward a year, and Covid has shone a big, bright light on all of the inequalities that exist in our society, and how their existence negatively affects us all. The sad thing is, that much of the pandemic response has not only failed to recognise the need to address those inequalities, but instead has exacerbated them. You’re more likely to lose your life to Covid if you’re disabled, or from a BAME background. You’re more likely to have lost your job if you’re a woman than a man. Your kids are more likely to have suffered learning losses from school closure if you’re not from an affluent family with resources to make up the shortfall.
None of this is inevitable: in fact, most of it is preventable if decision makers at the top bothered to think about equality when they designed their policies and strategies. For years I’d been turned off politics because it seemed that the main political parties were more interested in point-scoring and winning power than they were in using that power to make a fairer, healthier world in which everyone could thrive. Then along came the Women’s Equality Party, and finally I felt heard. The pandemic has highlighted why so many of our flagship policies are important – such as increased pay for careworkers, and the need for the government to recognise the value of childcare. But being proved right isn’t enough - what WE really need are seats in the room where decisions are being made. And that’s why I am so thrilled to represent the party in this year’s GLA elections.
I was born and grew up in London, and have lived in this beautiful and vibrant city most of my adult life. But while I love the idea that “London Is Open”, the reality is that it’s not as open for some as for others. I would be honoured to serve on the GLA and start making the changes that are so desperately needed to make doors open for all Londoners, no matter what their background. This city has enormous untapped potential, and it’s about time we start realising it – because equality is better for everyone.