Women's Equality Party (New York)

Last updated
Women's Equality Party
Leaders Susan Zimet
Ideology Women's rights [1]
Pro-choice [1]
Progressivism [2]
Political position Center-left
Seats in the Senate [lower-alpha 1]
2 / 2
Seats in the House [lower-alpha 1]
11 / 27
Seats in the State Senate [lower-alpha 1]
15 / 63
Seats in the State Assembly
0 / 150

The Women's Equality Party was a New York political party active only in that state. It was founded in 2014 by Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul, and lost ballot access in 2018.



Andrew Cuomo, the incumbent Governor of New York, created the party in July 2014 under New York's electoral fusion laws, which allow votes on any ballot line to count toward a ticket's overall vote count. [3] The party's name came from the Women's Equality Act, a bill that Cuomo was attempting to push through the New York State Legislature but stalled after he and the bill's supporters demanded a clause codifying Roe v. Wade be included even as the Republican-led New York State Senate refused to include the clause (the Senate did pass the rest of the bill, but the rest of the legislature refused to consider the bill without the Roe clause).

From its beginning, the party was met with controversy. Zephyr Teachout, who was challenging Cuomo in a primary election, accused Cuomo of blatant pandering, since Cuomo was not a woman. [3] (Cuomo used Kathy Hochul, his female running mate, as the public face of the party.)

The party attained over 50,000 votes for the Cuomo–Hochul ticket in the 2014 gubernatorial elections, granting it automatic ballot access as a full political party under state law. Cuomo and Hochul submitted a set of rules that has twice been challenged: once by a pair of Republican clerks who noted that the rules were not approved by a majority of the WEP's statewide candidates (the judge threw the challenge out for lack of standing), and again by former State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, who submitted her own set of rules in an attempt to become chair of the party. [4]

In 2016, the party was led by acting chair Rachel Gold. In January 2018, Susan Zimet became chair of the party. [5] Despite the change in leadership, and the fact that he was once again being challenged by a woman (Cynthia Nixon this time), the party supported Cuomo's 2018 reelection. [6] The party is widely believed to still be controlled and funded by the Cuomo gubernatorial campaign as a front organization, with the party having minimal independent operations. [7]

The party's acronym (W.E.P.) is visually close to that of the Working Families Party (W.F.P.), a left-wing New York third party that endorsed Nixon in the Democratic primary. Political observers accused Cuomo of creating the party to confuse voters who may have otherwise supported the WFP. [8]

The WEP was described by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a cynical, centrist group that endorsed male incumbents over female primary challengers like her and Cynthia Nixon. [9]

In 2018 gubernatorial election, the party lost its automatic ballot line after failing to capture 50,000 votes for Cuomo. [10] At the time it lost ballot access, it had approximately 1,100 registered members. [11]

Cuomo's ties to the party were again criticized after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment in 2021. [12] [13]

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  1. 1 2 Candidate Pledges
  2. Women’s Equality Party Announces over 100,000 Signatures to be on the Ballot This Fall
  3. 1 2 Lovett, Kenneth (July 17, 2014). "Zephyr Teachout blasts as cynical ploy Gov. Cuomo's creation of Women's Equality Party line". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  4. Mahoney, Bill (August 31, 2015). "Tkaczyk explains takeover attempt of Cuomo's women's party". Politico New York. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  5. "Notebook: Susan Zimet takes over as Women's Equality Party leader". Capitol Confidential. January 8, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  6. Mahoney, Bill (March 13, 2018). "Women's Equality Party, under new management, still likes Cuomo". Politico PRO. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  7. Bellafante, Ginia (May 24, 2018). "Cuomo's so-called Women's Party". The New York Times . Retrieved May 27, 2018.
  8. Goldberg, Michelle (October 24, 2014). "The Women's Equality Party is a joke". The Nation. blog. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  9. Julia Conley (July 19, 2018). "Cynthia Nixon and Ocasio-Cortez Blast 'Cynical' Cuomo-Backed Women's Equality Party for Endorsing Male Centrists in New York". Common Dreams. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  10. Goodale, Steve (November 7, 2018). "Reform Party of New York & Women's Equality Party lose ballot status". News Growl. blog. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  11. Lombardo, David (February 5, 2019). "Libertarian numbers grow in New York". Times Union (Albany, NY). Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  12. Marans, Daniel (March 12, 2021). "Andrew Cuomo Once Created A Fake Women's Rights Party As Political Revenge". HuffPost .
  13. Bergin, Brigid (March 3, 2021). "Cuomo Has A Long History Of Using Women As Props To Empower Himself, Critics Say". Gothamist .


  1. 1 2 3 These people were elected on the Democratic ticket, while also running on the WEP ticket.