February 28, 2018 / 4:02 PM / 3 months ago

Hollywood's Michael Sheen to join #March4Women in London to end discrimination

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Hollywood star Michael Sheen will march for gender equality in London with other celebrities, activists and politicians on Sunday, a century after British women won the right to vote.

The Welsh actor, famous for his roles in the “Twilight Saga” and Oscar-nominated film “Frost/Nixon”, said on Wednesday he would join the #March4Women event, calling for an end to discrimination and violence in the workplace.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement by women against sexual harassment and abuse, the march will “celebrate those women who sacrificed so much in the past alongside those who are taking such an inspiring lead today,” Sheen said in a statement.

“At this incredibly important and potentially transformative moment in the journey toward full gender equality it is my honor to be a part of this #March4Women event,” he said.

The Representation of the People Act of 1918 allowed property-owning women over the age of 30 to vote, following campaigns by the women’s suffrage movement, including radical suffragettes whose tactics included arson and bomb attacks.

London mayor Sadiq Khan and British comedian and television star Sue Perkins are also expected to join the #March4Women, organized by the British charity CARE International.

The march will end in Trafalgar Square, where many important speeches campaigning for women’s right to vote took place, and Sheen will read the words of Labour party founder Keir Hardie, a supporter of the suffragette movement.

Khan said earlier this month that feminists must “redouble” their efforts to fight for gender equality as too few women hold senior positions in business, journalism and politics.

Government data shows women in Britain earn 18 percent less than men on average, and salary differences have attracted significant public attention, with large businesses required to publish pay gap figures this year.

Reporting by Ana Ionova, Editing by Robert Carmichael and Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.

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