Sadiq Khan speaks to Marie Claire about #BehindEveryGreatCity, a major new campaign for gender equality across London
‘We’re going to drive forward to make our city the best place in the world to be a girl and to be a woman,’ Sadiq Khan told us after the announcement of his new #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign to champion gender equality across the capital.
The campaign coincides with the anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave some women the vote, and celebrates the fact that ‘Behind Every Great City is equality, opportunity and progress.’
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will use this centenary year to work with London’s many leading industries – from culture, to business, to education – to support the continuing success of women and to push for greater gender equality for women from all backgrounds across the city.
On top of this, incredible women (and men) from across London are showing their support in the star-studded official campaign video:
Here are our top take-homes from Sadiq Khan’s announcement this morning:
Parliament Square’s first statue of a woman
The first-ever (!) monument of a woman to stand within the central London location will be unveiled next year. Following Caroline Criado-Perez’s successful campaign – whose efforts also saw Jane Austen appear on the new £10 notes – a statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett (created by Turner Prize-wining artist Gillian Wearing) will be able to call Parliament Square home from next year.
Women’s art is coming to the London Underground
Art on the Underground, Transport for London’s public art programme, has commissioned a year-long programme of works from an international selection of exclusively women artists to mark the momentous year. There are almost six million journeys on the London Underground each day and women artists are being brought to the forefront of Art on the Underground, which Khan calls ‘probably the world’s biggest public art gallery.’
Sadiq Khan on the gender pay gap
Recent data from the Office of National Statistics showed that in 20 years, the gender pay gap has gone down by only half a percent. In the words of Sadiq Khan: ‘There’s no excuse for there to be a gender pay gap’. Following their first ever gender pay audit, City Hall is implementing plans to reduce the gender pay gap, with initiatives such as training senior managers to ensure recruitment processes are as fair as possible, offering mentoring and increasing the availability of part-time and flexible working options.
Including men in the gender equality conversation
Gender equality is not just for girls. Sadiq Khan said, ‘I passionately believe this can’t just be a fight for girls and women, it’s got to be all of us that join the fight.’ He went on, ‘We need to have more boys and men getting it and understanding why it’s important. Not just because they happen to be the fathers of daughters or because they’ve got sisters they care about, because we’re going to benefit as a society if woman have gender equality.’
Sadiq Khan reveals his female inspirations
We learnt who Sadiq Khan thinks is London’s greatest woman: his mum. He told us, ‘She raised eight children, seven boys and a girl, twenty-three grandchildren and in our family, we did the hoovering, the cooking, the ironing – there was no issue about gender stereotypes and she’s still going strong. She’s the matriarch of the family.’
He went on to talk about his other choice, Doreen Lawrence (campaigner and mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence). ‘In my lifetime, I’ve seen a Londoner, who’s a woman, change the narrative around ethnicity, change the law, be a formidable fighter for this issue and she’s still working really hard at the House of Lords.’
Words by Victoria Fell