Sadiq Khan launches #BehindEveryGreatCity gender equality campaign

27 December 2017

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today officially launched his new women’s equality campaign - #BehindEveryGreatCity - releasing a video calling on Londoners, businesses and organisations across the capital to make their New Year’s resolutions for gender equality in 2018.


Famous Londoners Naomi CampbellLinda Robson, Gurinder Chadha, Laura Whitmore, Ray BLK, Susie Rodgers, Tinie Tempah, Abbie Eaton and Sonia Friedman all appear in the video alongside nurses, firefighters, police officers, TfL engineers and Sadiq Khan to champion the fact that it is the achievements and contributions of women, from all walks of life, which make cities like London great. They are also joined by a host of influential Londoners including new British Vogue publisher Vanessa Kingori, CEO Debbie Wosskow OBE and entrepreneur Shalini Khemka.


Ahead of the centenary of the first women in the UK securing the right to vote, the video calls on Londoners to make their own New Year’s resolutions, using the hashtag #BehindEveryGreatCity. It ends with Naomi Campbell asking: “So tell us London. As you make your New Year’s Resolutions – what will your commitment be?”


Sadiq Khan also announced today that the world-famous London New Year’s Eve Fireworks celebrations will be themed around the #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign to ring in the centenary year. On the night the music in the second half of the fireworks, looking ahead to 2018,  will, for the first time, be exclusively by women artists including Annie Lennox, Aretha Franklin, Florence Welch, Ariana Grande and Dua Lipa. Londoners and visitors from around the world will again be encouraged to make their resolution for gender equality.


The Mayor’s campaign, which he announced last week, will celebrate the role London played in the women’s suffrage campaign, mark the progress that’s been made on women’s equality over the past 100 years and tackle gender inequality in all its forms. The campaign slogan #BehindEveryGreatCity is a deliberate play on the feminist slogan used globally in the 60s and 70s, ‘behind every great man stands a great woman’ and highlights that women don’t stand behind great men, but instead power great cities.


As a proud feminist, Sadiq Khan has pledged to tackle gender inequality in all its shapes and forms and today makes his own personal pledge to the city.


Sadiq Khan pledged: “Over the next year, and beyond, I commit to redoubling my efforts to fight for gender equality.  And I will be encouraging Londoners to celebrate the women of all ages, ethnicities, faiths and backgrounds who make London the greatest city in the world.”


Speaking about the launch of the campaign, he said: “As a proud feminist I am really encouraged to see so many Londoners supporting this campaign to say that Behind Every Great City is equality, opportunity and progress – regardless of your gender. 


“It is incredibly important to mark the centenary of this momentous time in history, but also to take stock of the huge inequalities women still face 100 years on from first winning the right to vote. That’s why I’m determined to take action - my #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign will work with Londoners and businesses to remove barriers to women’s success and level the playing field.”


The campaign launch comes as three times more women than men say that their gender hinders their progression at work, while four times more men say their gender helps their progression in the workplace1Recent data from the ONS showed that in the last 20 years, the gender pay gap in London has closed by only half a percent from 15.1 per cent, down to 14.6 per cent2.


As part of the campaign, the Mayor will work with London’s many leading sectors – from culture, education and business, to politics and public service – to support the continuing success of women and to push for greater gender equality for women from all backgrounds across the city.


Key landmarks across the city are also due to project the #BehindEveryGreatCity slogan onto their buildings on New Year’s Eve, in support of the project. Locations include; the BT Tower, Piccadilly Lights, Sadler’s Wells and Royal Festival Hall.


Support for the campaign is building across London with many leaders sharing their personal hopes and commitments to the fight for gender equality.


Tinie Tempah: 'Signing more undiscovered female talent'


Laura Whitmore: “In 2018, I want to see fair play and fair play for the sisterhood.”


Ray BLK: “In 2018 I want to see more female producers and engineers!”


Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE:  “London is powered by amazing women from all walks of life – both in front of and behind the scenes. I commit to putting great women in London centre stage next year – to celebrate, to reveal and to champion future generations of female leadership.”


Debbie Wosskow OBE, Co-Founder of AllBright, said: “We are so excited to be opening The AllBright - the first members’ club for working women in the UK - in London in 2018. I am committed to making London the best city in the world for working women - let’s get cracking!”


London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: “In 2018, we will continue #Firefightingsexism and want to see the outdated term fireman stopped being used as it reinforces the stereotype that its only a man’s job and isn’t true. We want to celebrate women protecting London every single day and attract more to join this rewarding career.”


Staynton Brown, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Transport for London, said: “Women have played a pivotal role in our history. Today they play a vital role in our organisation, keeping London working and growing in a wide range of careers, from engineering to town planning.  We’re proud to be supporting the #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign. Over the next year we want to inspire more women than ever to realise the great opportunities on offer in TfL and the transport industry and will be striving to make our organisation more reflective of the city that we serve.”


Notes to editors


  1. 28 per cent of women say their gender hinders their progression in the workplace, compared to just 9 per cent of men; 29 per cent of men think their gender helps their progression in the workplace, compared to 7 per cent of women. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,036 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th - 23rdNovember 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all London adults (aged 18+). The full results are available here: YouGov Results November 2017 - gender inequality.pdf.
  2. Recent data from the ONS showed that in the last 20 years, the gender pay gap in London has closed by only half a percent from 15.1 per cent, down to 14.6 per cent.


Further information on #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign:


·         Sadiq Khan’s new #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign will champion the fact that it is the achievements and contributions of women, from all walks of life, which make cities like London great. It will coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave some women the vote, and was introduced thanks to the campaigning of suffragists and suffragettes.

·         The campaign slogan #BehindEveryGreatCity is a deliberate play on the feminist slogan used globally in the 60s and 70s, ‘Behind every great man stands a great woman’ and highlights that women don’t stand behind great men, but instead power great cities.

·         A range of events and celebrations will take place, kicking off with a year-long programme of works by exclusively women artists on London Underground. For the first time ever, Art on the Underground, Transport for London’s public art programme, has commissioned work from an international selection of renowned women artists to mark the momentous year, including major commissions from British artists Heather Philipson at Gloucester Road station and Linder at Southwark station, the first in a new programme of works at Brixton station by Nigerian-born artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Tube Map covers by Romanian nonagenarian artist Geta Brătescu and French artist Marie Jacotey.

·         Since becoming Mayor, Sadiq Khan has published City Hall’s first-ever gender pay audit as well as gender pay audits for all of the Mayoral bodies including Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade. Following these audits, City Hall is implementing plans to reduce the gender pay gap– by increasing the availability of part-time and flexible-working options, aiding career progression, offering mentoring, career-support programmes and sponsorship for qualifications, piloting ‘no name’ application forms and training senior managers to ensure recruitment processes are as fair as possible. More than half of Sadiq’s Deputy Mayors are women, as are 10 of the 16 members of his Business Advisory Board.



Key facts and dates – 1918 Representation of the People Act:

1918 - The Representation of the People Act is passed on 6 February<x-apple-data-detectors://16> giving women the vote provided they are aged over 30 and either they, or their husband, meet a property qualification.

1918 - The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act is passed on 21 November allowing women to stand for Parliament.

1918 - Women vote in a general election for the first time on 14 December with 8.5 million women eligible.

1928 - The Equal Franchise Act is passed giving women equal voting rights with men. All women aged over 21 can now vote in elections. Fifteen million women are eligible.

1929 - On 30 May women aged between 21 and 29 vote for the first time. This general election is sometimes referred to as the Flapper Election.



  1. Tickets for the fireworks are sold out. You will not be admitted without a ticket. Aside from the fireworks London is one of the most exciting cities to be in on New Year's Eve with hundreds of events taking place in clubs, pubs and restaurants across the capital. There is a huge number of ways to ring in your New Year. To find out more go
  2. To find more about the New Year’s Eve fireworks event, including road closures,  

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