Sophie Walker


Sophie Walker (born 27 May 1971)[2][3] is a British political activist who was the founding leader of the Women's Equality Party (WE) in the United Kingdom.[4][5][6]

Sophie Walker
Sophie Walker in 2018
Leader of the Women's Equality Party
In office
22 July 2015  22 January 2019
Preceded bySandi Toksvig (co-founder)
Catherine Mayer (co-founder)
Succeeded byMandu Reid
Personal details
Born (1971-05-27) 27 May 1971 (age 50)
Blackpool, Lancashire, England
NationalityBritish
Political partyWomen's Equality Party
Spouse(s)Christopher Naylor
ResidenceLondon
Alma materUniversity of Reading
OccupationPolitician
WebsiteWomen's Equality Party
External video
Press Association interview
with Sophie Walker
"Sandi Toksvig's Women's Equality Party name Sophie Walker as leader" via YouTube[1]

She led the party from 2015 until 2019, first appointed unanimously by the steering committee and then winning the Party's first leadership election in 2018. She announced her resignation in January 2019,[7] saying she was "frustrated by the limits of my own work to ensure that women of colour, working class women and disabled women see themselves reflected in this party and know they can lead this movement" and adding "sometimes in order to lead, you have to get out of the way." Walker was the WE party candidate in the 2016 London mayoral election [8] and in the 2017 General Election stood for WE against Conservative MP Philip Davies in Shipley.

She was appointed Chief Executive of the Young Women's Trust in June 2019.[9]

Early life


Walker was born on 27 May 1971, the daughter of Lesley and David Walker.[10] She was born in Blackpool, in England, but grew up in Glasgow, in Scotland.[11]

She attended university in England, studying English and French at the University of Reading.[12] Walker then took a postgraduate diploma in newspaper journalism at City University, in London.[13]

Journalist


Walker's early career was in journalism, working as a reporter and then as an editor at the Reuters news agency. She covered the fields of finance, business and trade, plus politics. She reported from London, Paris and Washington and from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.[6]

Women's Equality Party


Walker launched the policy manifesto of the Women's Equality Party (WE) at Conway Hall, 20 October 2015, with six core objectives: equal representation in politics and business; equal representation in education; equal pay; equal treatment of women in the media; equal parenting rights; and an end to violence against women.[14][15] Walker told BBC Radio Wales Sunday Supplement programme that the party would be taking a non-partisan approach to elections, "We will be undertaking consultations with our members and deciding which seats to target."[16] WE is the only UK political party to offer affiliate membership with other parties.

Under Walker's leadership the party grew to 75 UK branches and contested local, national and mayoral elections. It held two party conferences and ran multiple nationwide campaigns on topics related to its party objectives.

Walker was elected party leader in March 2018 with over 90% of the vote.[17] The term of office is five years and was due to run until 2023,[18] but Walker resigned in early 2019 citing frustration at the lack of diversity within the party.[4] Walker was replaced as leader by Mandu Reid.[19]

London mayoral election, 2016

Walker stood for election in the London mayoral election held on 5 May 2016.[20][21] She came sixth, with 53,055 votes (2% of the vote).[8]

UK general election, 2017

Walker stood in the 2017 general election in Shipley against the sitting Conservative MP Philip Davies, an anti-political correctness and men's rights campaigner.[22] She received 1,040 votes (1.9%) and finished fourth out of four candidates.[23]

Family life


Walker is married to Christopher Naylor, the chief executive officer of Barking and Dagenham council.[24] They live in London and have one daughter.[25]

Grace, Walker's daughter from a previous marriage, has Asperger's syndrome and Walker wrote a blog to give her daughter's life a voice.[26] This was published as the book Grace Under Pressure.[27] Walker has accepted an advocacy role with the National Autistic Society.[24]

Media appearances


Walker has appeared on a number of media broadcasts within the UK including a panel discussion on free speech and equality with Jordan Peterson and Michael Fabricant for The Wright Stuff in which she stated, "I think the difference between Jordan and me is that we look at evidence and we lean towards different theories. So, Jordan's theory is very much evolutionary, that there are inherent differences in men and women, mine is very much more social role theory, if you like, that men and women are taking on different roles due to the expectations that society puts on them."[28] In 2015, she was listed as one of BBC's 100 Women.[29] In 2018, Walker was named by Vogue as one of the "New Suffragettes".[30]

Publications


Books
  • Walker, Sophie (2012). Grace under pressure: going the distance as an Asperger's mum. London: Hachette Digital. ISBN 9781405516082.
Articles
Broadcast Media
  • Sophie Walker (19 August 2015). Our interview with Sophie Walker (YouTube). www.thefemalelead.com. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  • In 2017, having led them to the final with two victories, Walker captained a team of celebrity former students from Reading University in Christmas University Challenge that was the first in the 55-year history of the quiz to fail to get a single question right.[31]

References


  1. Sophie Walker (22 July 2015). Sandi Toksvig's Women's Equality Party name Sophie Walker as leader (YouTube). Press Association. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  2. "Walker, Sophie". Library of Congress. Retrieved 21 September 2015. data view screen (b. 5-27-1971)
  3. Beaty, Zoe (March 2016). "Just who are the Women's Equality Party and what do they stand for?". Stylist. Shortlist Media.
  4. "Feminist party's first leader resigns". BBC News. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  5. Cohen, Claire (22 July 2015). "Watch out Cameron: Meet the leader of Britain's first feminist political party". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  6. Ridley, Louise (8 September 2015). "Women's Equality Party leader Sophie Walker wants to end culture of "white men in suits"". The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post Media Group. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  7. Syal, Rajeev (22 January 2019). "Women's Equality party leader Sophie Walker steps down". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  8. Charlie Cooper, Katie Forster (7 May 2016). "Women's Equality Party gets more than 350,000 votes and beats George Galloway in London". The Independent. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  9. "Young Women's Trust appoints Sophie Walker as Chief Executive". Young Women's Trust. 6 June 2019.
  10. "Sophie Walker". womensequality.org.uk. Women's Equality Party. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  11. Freeman, Sarah (28 April 2017). "Women's Equality Party leader Sophie Walker: Why I can beat Philip Davies in Shipley". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  12. Student services (3 February 2017). "Alumni lecture series: Sophie Walker, Women's Equality Party". University of Reading. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  13. Walker, Sophie. "Sophie Walker". uk.linkedin.com. LinkedIn. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  14. "Women's Equality Party announces first policies and campaigns". Women's Equality Party. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  15. Minter, Harriet (21 October 2015). "The Women's Equality Party launch is not a moment too soon". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  16. Staff writer (25 July 2015). "Women's Equality Party to field candidates in assembly elections". BBC News: Wales politics. BBC. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  17. "Declaration of result: Women's Equality Party Leadership Election" (PDF). uk-engage.org. UK Engage. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  18. "Role description: Leader of the Women's Equality Party" (PDF). pre.ukevote.uk/we. Election portal for the Women's Equality Party Leadership Election. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  19. "Women's Equality Party announces Interim Leader and London Mayoral Candidate". Women's Equality Party. 8 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  20. Lo Dico, Joy (6 February 2016). "Sophie Walker: London is the worst place to live in the UK if you're a woman". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  21. "Sophie Walker: the power of 4 million". Women's Equality Party. 2016. Archived from the original on 26 December 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  22. "General election 2017: Women's Equality Party leader to challenge MP Philip Davies". BBC News. 23 April 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  23. Grant, Katie (9 June 2017). "Feminists 'devastated' Philip Davies re-elected to Shipley seat". i news.
  24. Cocozza, Paula (28 August 2015). "Women's Equality party founders: 'It needed doing. So we said, "Let's do it"'". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  25. Smith, Reiss (24 April 2017). "Who is Sophie Walker? Women's Equality Party challenges Philip Davies in general election".
  26. Walker, Sophie. "Grace Under Pressure". courage-is. Sophie Walker via Blogger.
  27. Walker, Sophie (2012). Grace under pressure: going the distance as an Asperger's mum. London: Hachette Digital. ISBN 9781405516082.
  28. Matthew Wright (presenter), Jordan Peterson (guest), Sophie Walker (guest) and Michael Fabricant (guest) (16 May 2018). Jordan Peterson discusses whether men and women can ever be equal (Television). The Wright Stuff. Channel 5 via YouTube. 1.40 minutes in. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  29. "BBC 100 Women 2015: Who is on the list?". BBC News. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  30. "Meet The New Suffragettes". Vogue. 4 January 2018.
  31. Smyth, Chris (8 January 2018). "Universally challenged: Reading alumni team gets zero". The Times. Retrieved 8 January 2018.