A long-term Brixton resident and London General Assembly (LGA) candidate for the Women’s Equality Party (WEP) has discussed the importance of having women’s needs at the forefront of the political agenda.
Polls will be open on 6 May for Londoners to elect a new mayor and LGA members, and Korina Holmes wants to see more representation for marginalised groups.
The London Assembly acts in the public interest by holding the mayor accountable to their policies and is a 25 member-elected body: 11 London-wide members who are voted in through proportional representation and 14 members who are elected by constituencies.
Holmes, 33, said: “As a mum, single parent, women of colour and someone from a marginalised group, it’s so important that we’re represented.
“Having one candidate who speaks for women in the London Assembly will make a huge difference to what we can do as a party.”
Co-founded in 2015 by Catherine Mayer and Sandy Toksvig, the WEP have equity and seeking an end to gender-based violence at the heart of their female-centred manifesto.
Holmes explained how she was drawn to the party because of their encouraging community, relatable policies and emphasis on childcare support.
She said: “I remember thinking if these policies came in tomorrow my actual practical reality would be much better.
“If it’s easier for women to get to work there will be more people in work and unemployment will go down.
“What’s the point of jobs if you don’t have childcare? So many people can’t go to work because they don’t have childcare support, or they can’t get to work because of the buses.”
The recent disappearance and death of Sarah Everard re-ignited a national conversation around male violence against women and the lack of protective measures in place for women and girls across the country.
Holmes said: “The Sarah Everard disappearance has made everyone start thinking and talking about violence against women and girls, which we’ve owned as a political party for a long time.
“It felt like when George Floyd died last year; it made a lot of people stand up and listen.
“People now understand what violence against women and girls means; its not a one off instance, it’s systemic.
“We will be able to hold the mayor accountable for gender equality and make sure it’s at the top of the political agenda in London, and it’s not just London that will benefit.
“In September 2020 the Lambeth branch of the WEP set up a survey of women in Lambeth around sexual harassment, street harassment and violence against women and girls.
“We got over 200 responses in a month and 80% of people said they’d experienced sexual harassment.”
These findings correlate with a recent YouGov survey where 86% of women aged 18-24 said they had been harassed in public spaces.
Elections were originally meant to be held on 7 May 2020, but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are three ballots on polling day; a pink ballot paper to vote for the new London Mayor, a yellow ballot paper to vote for Constituency London Assembly members and an orange ballot for London-wide Assembly members.
If you’re a London resident you can vote for the sixth London Assembly on 6 May 2021, of which more information can be found here.
Featured image credit: Patrick de Vries.