Women make up 51 per cent of the population, yet just 29 per cent of MPs and 25 per cent of judges are female. At the current rate it will be 70 years before working women and men are paid equally; women currently earn 81 pence for every pound earned by their male counterparts 1. TEDxUCLWomen strives to combat the longevity of these gaping inequalities, and celebrates all those who do the same.
Catherine Mayer is one such person. In 2015, at the Southbank’s Women of the World Festival, she proposed the creation of a Women’s Equality Party and swiftly went on to co-found it with Sandi Toksvig. The party’s mission is self-explanatory, but as society’s historically consistent and still prevailing inequality demonstrates, WEP’s goals are far from simple to achieve.
Before her more recent foray into politics, Catherine Mayer was – and continues to be – a prolific author and journalist. During a 30-year career in analytical news magazines, Mayer has worked at The Economist, and been President of the Foreign Press Association and Time’s Editor-at-Large. Her biography of Prince Charles incited anger at Clarence House and made headlines worldwide for its critique of royal life, and HarperCollins’s Executive Publisher has been waiting “all [her] life” for Mayer’s upcoming book 2. Due for release in 2017, Attack of the Fifty Foot Women draws on Mayer’s wealth of experience working toward gender equality and surveys cultures across the world to illuminate what it is holding women back, and how much everyone would genuinely benefit from a society in which gender participation were truly equal.
Catherine Mayer is blazing a trail, not simply through the work she does to push for gender equality and educate people on it, but also in the very way she has carved out her career. Writing to politics is not an obvious career jump, nor is it one that many women imagine they could achieve, and yet Mayer is moving between the two with huge successes in both realms. She knows that a balanced society is our future and women must and will be heard. With Mayer speaking with and for women on the long march to equality, it’s a slippery slope for the patriarchal society of the past.
Daisy Clague is President of UCLU Leading Women Society, who are holding an event with Catherine Mayer on Tuesday 4th October: https://www.facebook.com/events/1768071663480360/
1 Women’s equality party website