I have two pretty big priorities for today: do some writing for my amazing new science learning publication that will help thousands of students catch up on their science learning, and drum up some support for my election campaign that, if successful will create a voice for local people. Before I could get started on changing the world I had to put a wash on, put away some laundry, empty and reload the dishwasher, check that the kids have cleaned their rooms, vac downstairs, mop the floors, clean the loo, empty the bins and pick out all the bits of aluminium in the recycling and make them into balls so that the recycling machine can identify them so they get recycled and not sent to landfill.
As I mopped, I thought 'I bet my male counterparts in both endeavours don't do all the housework before they crack on with their campaign'. And then I thought 'how many women never get to do the important stuff they are capable of, because they are caught up in the never-ending to-do list of looking after a home and family?' I am really fortunate to not be doing all of the above jobs on my own. I have a wonderful husband who shares the housework, cooks and takes care of the children, and the children are all helpful in their own way. I couldn't do all the big important stuff without my family's support, and when I was single parent I wouldn't have had a hope of doing anything other than work and take care of the children.
I joined the Women's Equality Party because they enabled women with responsibilities to get involved. For example, at their first conference they provided childcare. They also make it possible for those on a tight budget to contribute what they can afford and still be fully included. When I was on a tighter budget I simply couldn't afford to be fully involved anywhere else. What worries me is the thought that so many women, who have so much on their plates are just not being heard. When we were getting my nominations sorted out last week, my colleagues at the branch and I were juggling work, family, stuffing envelopes, writing leaflets, setting up a crowd funder and everything else. I imagine that my conservative rival's nomination form submission experience was not reminiscent of a slightly manic episode of Challenge Anneka like mine was. For me, getting papers signed and delivered happened in between a busy week at work, getting the dishwasher fixed, washing and drying countless loads of washing, catering for hungry teenagers, taking one teen to football and helping the other with a particularly challenging GCSE physics calculation, and writing a book. This was probably not the experience of my male opponent. This is precisely why I should stand.
It is often said that those that shout the loudest get heard. It is really easy to shout louder than people who are not talking. The conservatives in my ward aren't shouting for equality. They aren't really saying anything at all. They don't have to, because most people don't have the time or capacity to say anything as life is getting in the way. Shakespeare said that 'the empty vessel makes the loudest sound' and that is precisely what is happening here. Empty vessels with nothing to say are making decisions that affect those who's lives are too crowded with responsibilities to find the time to be heard.
What can we do to change things? The most important thing anyone can do to create a fairer society is vote. It takes moments to register and to vote by post. Then make your vote count. Have a read of the leaflets that come through your door and ask yourself which candidate stands for what you believe in, and which are saying nothing? Be discerning; your vote is precious: please use it to make a difference.