While new Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has been commended in recent months for his efforts regarding gender equality within parliament and for appointing five women to his cabinet (an improvement from the previous cabinet), British politics has taken the gender equality issue one step further.

In March this year, comedian Sandi Toksvig and journalist Catherine Mayer formed the Women’s  Equality Party, which is dedicated solely to achieving equality in politics, business, education, equal pay, parenting and the media, as well as campaigning for an end to violence against women.

Since March, the party has covered much ground and has now gained 45,000 members; a considerable feat, considering Britain’s Green party has 65,000 members.

Last week, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, Sophie Walker (a former Reuters Journalist) publicly voiced the party’s policies at a conference in London, with free childcare, fully equal parental leave, baby changing areas available to men and women and the criminalisation of those who pay prostitutes for sex,  as the party’s top priorities.

Walker has also called for a gender quota system to select MPs at the next two elections, in order to achieve equal representation in the House of Commons by 2025. At Britain’s last election (held earlier this year), women made up just 26% of all candidates. Without quotas, the party believes gender parity within the House of Commons will not be achieved until 2055 and in the House of Lords until 2100.

While there has been pushback from members of the public and parliament claiming quotas risk letting mediocre people in for the sake of achieving a set figure, Walker claims this argument is short sighted. “ A system in which you are fishing in a small pool of people who all look and sound alike is more likely to create mediocrity than if you break it open to the huge diversity in our country. We have 30 million women in the country; I think it’s highly unlikely you would struggle to find 325 brilliant ones to become MPs,” Walker said at the conference.

At this stage the party is focusing on gender quotas, but wants to support all groups at a disadvantage in their representation in politics and introduce further quotas down the track.

“We want to represent not just people who are disadvantaged because of their gender, but people who are doubly or trebly or quadruply disadvantaged by their gender and their race and their socioeconomic background and their age and their disability,” Walker said.

At this stage, The Women’s Equality Party plan to field it’s first candidates in elections in Scotland, Wales and London in early 2016 and at the 2020 general election. However, Ms Walker has said that the party want mainstream political parties to start acting now on gender equality by taking on board their outlined agendas. ask me In the meantime, the party are currently launching their platform in bases across Britain in order to raise awareness and continue to increase the number of supporters.

“ What we are really striving for, is that other political parties take these policies on and get these done. These policies are a matter of equality and equality affects everyone,” Walker said in closing her speech in London last week.

To find out more about the Women’s Equality Party and their official policies, visit their website: