Tomorrow we are turning on our Out Of Office to highlight the fact that women are effectively working for free for the rest of the year. Older women, BAME women and women in skilled trade jobs stopped being paid long before this day, and pregnancy and maternity discrimination is pushing thousands of women out of the office permanently.
The government's mistrust of women in the UK is real and measurable. The repercussions of it weigh heavy across all of our lives. And the physical weight of it amounts to precisely one hundred and forty-three stone in paperwork every year.
You'd think today those women would be carried shoulder-high across the studio lots for finally deposing a man who disgraced Hollywood. But instead they are now entering the next circle of hell that is common to so many women who report sexual violence against them: an inquisition of their inability to prevent that violence. Survivors of Harvey Weinstein's violent, bullying behaviour are now being taken to task in massive media headlines for not speaking up sooner, for not caring about one another's suffering - and even, yes, for 'asking for it.'
Telling women to sit in female-only carriages excuses violence by men. It places the responsibility for avoiding violence on women. It fails to make men responsible for their actions. It casts violence against women on trains as a thing that happens on trains, and requires a train-specific response. It makes male violence small, and nothing to do with men. Williamson says we need this action now because of the urgency of the statistics: figures from the BBC last month showed that 1,448 sexual offences on UK trains were reported in 2016-2017, up from 650 in 2012-2013.
We have to challenge time and time again the idea that talent looks white and male. We have to laugh at and tear up the tired old trope that the best-paid people are simply "the best person for the job." To follow that argument to its natural end would be to conclude that women, people of colour, and disabled people all lack talent and white men are born with it. It simply cannot be the case the the BBC is paying its top men four times as much as its top women because the men are just better at the job.
The Women's Equality Party is out to joyfully shatter the old model, with the politics of women's liberation and a collaborative approach to creating fairer systems that work better for everyone. WE burst into life two years ago to build an alternative to parties whose manifestos left women's choices til last and viewed cross-party collaboration with the distrust of people at war.
It's time for government to put its money where its mouth is. Telling businesses to tackle the pay gap is all well and good, but until investment banks and retailers offer equal employment to men and women who share care equally for their families, exercises in publishing pay will show only the size of the job that successive governments repeatedly leave undone.
We can do better. The solution is bigger and simpler than budgetary tweaks and reviews. We need more women in politics. We need policies that are rooted in the reality of our lives, presented by more of the women who are living those experiences, so that our voices are no longer drowned out. We need more than 24 hours to talk about what we need.
I'll be marching on Saturday because the first rule of making a change is to do something about it. I'll be marching to encourage all the people who have looked at the world lately and thought: "Someone should really do something about this" - to believe that on Saturday that person can be them.
Today is Human Rights Day. It marks the close of 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women and girls. And it's also two weeks since the first Women's Equality Party conference, where I was honoured to share the stage with women who came to tell their stories and to shape a better future where human rights also means women's rights.
Social media meninists and radio shock jocks will ask - in synthetically sympathetic tones - whether this isn't just a fuss over nothing. But the pay gap isn't a generational overhang and it isn't going away any time soon. Discrimination isn't a game. Poverty isn't a game.
Women's sport receives just 0.4% of reported UK sponsorship deals. The FA Women's Super League's most valuable sponsorship deal - with Continental - is worth £450,000. To put that in perspective: Adidas sponsor Chelsea to the sum of £280million. This matters... Equal pay for equal play should be at the heart of all our national sports. It is time we give women and girls the message that they can play too. And on a level playing field.
Twenty years after women flooded the UK with their demands, they still make up this country's poorest people. They are still murdered at a rate of two a week, by a partner or former partner. And their domestic labour is still invisible and unpaid. It is time for women to raise their voices again. This time a feminist political force is listening.
There's a supposed curse that brings on days like the ones through which we are now living. It goes: "May you live in interesting times." Interesting times - the worst of things. Unpredictable, alarming, dangerous. A frightening change from knowing between dawn and dusk the rough template of our lives and the scope of our choices.
This morning the sun is out in London. This morning we've all got a chance to make history by voting for the first political party - the only political party - that puts equality for women front and centre of all of its policies.
Today there is a hustings in London organised by the biggest disability charities. It looks to be an excellent event. The organisers have been meticulous about enabling the participation by providing easy-read information, documentation in Braille and agreed timings. I won't be there because as a candidate for a new and different party I have been deemed ineligible to participate... This has so many echoes of the space in which I existed with Grace in those early years that it is tough to find myself here again.
14/04/2016 11:55 BST
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