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Town councillor’s claimed experience of ‘everyday sexism’

A councillor had to tell a colleague “I’m not going as a dolly bird” when they made a “patronising” comment to her before a business meeting.

Coun Kay Wesley, who became the country’s only Women’s Equality Party town councillor in 2019, has previously spoken about her experiences of sexism in politics.

In the run up to Christmas, she gave an interview to Congleton Radio in which she highlighted one particular incident.

“I’ve had sexist remarks made to me by other councillors,” Coun Wesley told interviewer Tim Taylor.

“One said to me before I went to a chamber of commerce meeting, ‘I’m sure Kay can charm a few businessmen into giving a donation’.

“I said, I’m not going as a dollybird, I’m going as a business owner to speak to my peers. It is so patronising. I wasn’t wounded permanently, but the everyday sexism is there.”

The comment came in the context of a discussion about the White Ribbon initiative, which campaigns to end male violence against women and which Congleton Town Council has supported since 2019.

Coun Wesley, who owns Congleton-based communications company Kanga Health, described in the interview how some of her colleagues had “consistently opposed” being affiliated with the campaign.

She explained: “They say, ‘what about the male victims?’ That is such a patriarchal view of the world. Yes, there are male victims, and all violence is wrong, but White Ribbon is about dealing with toxic masculinity. We have a few councillors who simply don’t get that.”

During the programme, it was revealed that the local branch of the Women’s Equality Party would have another candidate standing alongside Coun Wesley this year.

Susan Mead will stand for a seat on Congleton Town Council at the local elections in May.

The nursery owner has campaigned for greater inclusion of residents in activities on the Bromley Farm housing estate and has also garnered attention for a speech she gave in front of thousands as part of Manchester’s March of the Mummies, which called for the urgent reform of childcare, parental leave and flexible working.

She told Congleton Radio: “One of the things that made me passionate about wanting to be a councillor was to try and help people and get them back on their feet.”

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