Comedian Sandi Toksvig has revealed that she quit BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz to set up a new political party named the Women’s Equality Party.
The radio host stepped down as host of Radio 4’s News Quiz earlier this week, after nine years hosting the popular show.
Speaking on Women’s Hour today, she explained that she had decided to quit the show in order to “participate” in politics – by creating a Women’s Equality party.
I have made jokes over and over and over again about politics and, do you know, this election I’ve had enough… and I have decided that instead of making jokes about it, I need to participate. So I am involved in the founding of a new political party. It’s called the Women’s Equality Party. It is a fantastic group of women – and indeed men – who have decided that enough is enough and we need to make some changes.”
They are not fielding candidates in the UK 2015 general election but will do so in five years time, she said. She said it was “very possible” that they would get MPs elected in 2020.
Clearly, if I’m going to be taking part in the political scene, it wouldn’t be appropriate sitting there making jokes about it. When pointed out that the panellists will now poke fun at her, she said: They’d be welcome to… and good luck to them to try, frankly! I feel I need to commit to this, I’m really excited about it. I’ve watched the mainstream parties blame each other and bicker. It seems to be that politicians now, there’s the overbearing parent… or there’s the overgrown toddler. I think it’s time to grow up. We look at why women still do not have equality in this country. It’s not going to be right or left, it’s going to be a very pragmatic female approach to things.”
Author and former Time Magazine editor-at-large Catherine Mayer is among the party’s other founders.
According to a Facebook post about a recent meeting, their aims and objectives are: Equal representation in politics and the boardroom; equal pay; equal parenting rights; equality of and through education; equal treatment by and in the media; and an end to violence against women.
Asked why she had not joined an established political party, Toksvig replied:
Most of the mainstream parties seem to treat women’s issues as if we were a minority group rather than, in fact, what we are, which is the majority of the country. So you get separate women’s manifestos, or you get childcare talked about as if it was only a woman’s issue, and if UKIP and the Green Party have taught us anything, actually pushing our agenda from the outside and pushing the mainstream parties to pay attention is much more successful.
The party’s going to be non-partisan. It’s not going to be right or left. It’s going to be a very pragmatic, female approach to things, which is to say, ‘What is the problem that we have in front of us? And what is the most practical and possible way in which we can solve this?’ I want the party to attract people from all sides.”