Standing for Member of Parliament for Women’s Equality Party

  Harini Iyengar

Barrister and Candidate for for Parliament for WEP

“I wanted to be an astronaut and go up into space.”

“I wanted to be an astronaut and go up into space from the age of 9 to 16, but when I put down my options I was told I couldn’t do that, I had to choose between Arts and Science.

Because I was a very academic student, both the Science and Arts were putting pressure on me. I’ll always remember sitting on tall stools in the physics lab and the head of Physics showing me various astronomers on TV, including Patrick Moore, and I thought, “I don’t want to work with people like that, they don’t look very glamorous, and I’m going to do Arts”.   It is important to go back and remember what it is like to be a teenage girl.   I chose Arts, but I look back and think, “Might I have been in Tim Peake’s shoes”.

I think that the whole question of girls into Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, is vital for the economy and for individual girls.   It needs a huge investment. We need to go in almost with power of clothes, fashion, advertising campaigns to entice girls in, not to tell them what to do.

Harini is a candidate for GLA

Harini is representing the Women’s Equality Party.

Having said that my school has been huge.   My school has got a bit of a rebellious streak because all the Pankhurst girls went there, and I won the same prize for academic excellence as Sylvia Pankhurst.


Harini is a candidate for GLA

Harini is representing the Women’s Equality Party.

As a young child, it was always the boys who had the plasticine and the crayons, and I used to go over and get them back.

I always wanted Meccano, but when my parents entered the childrens’ educational toys section, they went for the girls’ toys.   They might have bought Meccano had I asked, but the culture of the time was such that it didn’t seem possible for me.

In the Women’s Equality Party, what we want for girls and women is vital for the economy. Since 1999, I’ve been a Barrister, specialising in anti-discrimination, sexual harassment, and equal pay cases.   I work full-time and care for my three children as a single parent. I care about the world we offer to young people.”

    Harini was interviewed by CityEye for WATC

So who is more suitable to stand as a candidate for the Greater London Authority representing the Womens’ Equality Party?   She has the experience of single parenthood, and the experience of dealing with equality pay cases and anti-discrimination. She knows the public does not recognise the half of what goes on in the way of discrimination. A woman who, as a girl, was not allowed to enter the world of Science. This is not just equality for women.   Men, families, all benefit from a more equal society.

Barrister and lawyer

She is standing as WEP candidate for GLA

“When my parents came over from India they both had post graduate degrees. My mother is my role model.   She was a GP.  She had a postgraduate diploma in childcare, which she came to the UK to do, but it was tougher for Indian Doctors back then.   She wasn’t able to get the opportunities she wanted, and she left the general practice. She made the best of it and set up her own practice, one of the last community GPs.

At the time my parents came in 1968, there was not even a Race Relations Act.   They faced very overt race discrimination. It affected them at work, it affected them where they lived; they were not being invited to social events. They felt it very deeply, very deeply.

I’ve been alienated from mainstream politics for a long time.   I was more and more disillusioned, especially as I became a mother.   Only the Women’s Equality Party made me think again about mainstream politics.   We put the family central. We believe in equal parenting and caregiving, and shared responsibilities; the things that happened in my family”


“The really serious consequence of the under-representation of women in politics is that the impact of all these austerity cuts, upon women, has not been properly considered.””

When you have a law, made by similar kinds of men of similar social class, having them then consider it in Parliament – again the same kind of people, in Committee, and again in the High Court – is not the same as representing women‘s diverse interest in the political  process itself”

“I do believe that, when we have equal numbers of men and women,

it changes the culture”



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