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Ex-lawyer becomes the Women’s Equality Party’s first-ever Islington candidate in local elections

Nikki Uppal, of the Women’s Equality Party, set to stand in May’s local elections

02 March, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Nikki Uppal: ‘People sometimes have the wrong idea about the party – that we are anti-men… it just takes a five-minute conversation to change that’

A FORMER lawyer is to be Islington’s first-ever Women’s Equality Party candidate in May’s local elections.

Pledging “equality is better for everybody”, Nikki Uppal, 42, is asking residents in Hillrise ward to consider giving one of their three votes to her in the Town Hall elections.

The mother-of-two is campaigning on three main issues – equal education and ensuring children are taught about harassment and consent in schools; bolstering frontline resources against gender-based violence; and analysing what Islington can do to help working parents with expensive childcare.

A misconception on the doorstep is that the party is one-sided, she said, but it welcomes men and women. Ms Uppal, a governor at Whitehall Park School, said: “The policies are aimed at attaining gender equality. Equality is better for everybody. It isn’t a case of ‘Giving women more means taking something away from men’.

“We want to end violence against women and girls. That’s not a bad thing for men either. Equal rights around parental leave are also better for men. It leads to a better, fairer and happier society for everybody.

“People sometimes have the wrong idea about the party – that we are anti-men. Actually, it just takes a five-minute con­versation to change that.”

Supporting her campaign is Melanie Howard, a Highbury resident who stood for the Women’s Equality Party in the 2016 London Assembly elections.

The national party, founded three years ago, has since grown in size. It encouraged other parties to take on its manifesto points at last year’s snap general election.

Ms Uppal said that, although she had had a positive experience as a lawyer, the legal world generally was not really “geared up” for flexibility to balance work and family.

On childcare, she said: “There’s also a real problem with wrap-around care [before and after school]. In a world where most people have to work and people want to work, it’s quite hard to get care for those hours.

“What is Islington doing about it, can it improve, what creative options are there to make this work better in Islington? Only if we have a voice will we be able to represent those views on the council.”

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