Interviews News

Women’s Equality Party campaigning to end sexism

In the final of five interviews with local party leaders ahead of the election on 5th May, Women’s Equality Party candidate Lisa Bard seeks to end gender pay gaps
By Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Lisa Bard (left) out canvassing with WEP deputy leader Dr Hannah Barham-Brown and Irina Stanean (credit Women's Equality Party Barnet)
Lisa Bard (left) out canvassing with WEP deputy leader Dr Hannah Barham-Brown and Irina Stanean (credit Women’s Equality Party Barnet)

The Women’s Equality Party is aiming to protect the most vulnerable people in Barnet and campaign for gender equality.

The co-leader of the local Barnet group, Lisa Bard, outlined pledges to tackle unequal pay and sexism, push for better parental leave and provide safe places for women fleeing domestic violence.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service ahead of local election on 5th May, Lisa said she did not think the Tories had done a good job managing the council’s finances, considering that is one of their “core messages”.

“They certainly haven’t managed the closure of Apthorp care home very well,” she said. The council faced criticism last year over the decision to close Apthorp Care Centre, in Brunswick Park, and make staff redundant after the building was found to require repairs costing almost £6million.

“Their top priority should be supporting the most vulnerable people in the borough,” Lisa said. “That would include the elderly people in need of social care and women who are in need of a refuge. Barnet Council continues to fail the most vulnerable, and that’s why I’m standing – to address that.”

The Women’s Equality Party would care for the most vulnerable and offer a safe place for all women fleeing domestic violence, Lisa said. “We would make sure there is provision for catering for women with children, women with disabilities and women with mental health needs or addictions,” she explained.

The party also wants to end sexism in schools by working with the Gender Action organisation, which promotes gender equality in education. “I would expect all schools to be registered at supporter level and work towards higher levels as they gain knowledge and confidence,” Lisa said.

Lisa wants to tackle the gender pay gap and says she would urge the council to reduce the cost of “good quality” childcare through subsidies.

“Women end up taking on more caring responsibilities, both around childcare and helping elderly people in their family, and that has a knock-on impact on the gender pay gap,” she explained. “Plus, it has a multigenerational effect because it impacts on the amount they are able to pay into their pension.”

Lisa also wants the council to move towards enabling “equal parenting”, so that each partner gets a minimum of three months of paid parental leave, with a further three months that can be divided between them.

Lisa is standing in Edgware ward and says she has “strong local links” to the area, having lived there since 2015 after moving from neighbouring Stanmore. Candidates are also standing for the Women’s Equality Party in Golders Green, West Finchley and Mill Hill.

Encouraging people to vote for the party, Lisa said it was in a “unique position to bring change into politics, not only in the local council but nationally” and was fighting to ensure women have equality “in all fields of life”.

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