Hi, I'm Sonia
In my mid-twenties I became a carer to my grandmother. Physically and emotionally it was the most difficult year of my life. The burden of care frequently falls on women and, even in this day and age, a lack of political will means that our social care systems remain dysfunctional. We also have some of the highest childcare costs in the developed world. It is why I became ‘AskherToStand’ director for the 5050 Parliament campaign. I fundamentally believe we need more people with lived experience from diverse backgrounds to change our politics.
It is often said we have a “woman problem” in healthcare. Women are paid less than their male counterparts and women’s health conditions are often under-researched and poorly understood. I was co-chair of the young Medical Women’s International Association in which we worked to improve the pay and conditions of doctors and to improve women's healthcare; from abortion provision to the menopause.
I took on the role of National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow in 2018, leading national health policy to drive improvements in care. I have worked for the charity Macmillan, working to improve cancer care nationally.
In 2019 I started a petition to introduce legislation to ensure the NHS was protected from new trade deals. It received over 1.4 million signatures, supported by prominent people such as Stephen Fry. The issue was taken up by the Labour party in the 2019 general election campaign.
Following the suicide of a family member, I began campaigning to raise awareness of mental health stigma and inadequate services. In recognition of my campaign I received the Asian Women of Achievement award, and I was also named “Future Shaper of 2019” by Marie Claire magazine and received the humanitarian award.
I have had my articles published by IPPR journal, the Fabian Society, the British Medical Journal, alongside newspapers such as the Mirror and the Metro. I have been interviewed on broadcast media for BBC Radio 4, Sky News, BBC World Service, Women's Hour, Politics Live, Channel 4 news, GMB and CNN.
I now work in general practice in London. It's a job I love but in my clinical work I sometimes feel helpless and frustrated. Many of the people I meet in my surgery are living with physical or mental illness; too often a result of social conditions or policy choices. It is that sense of frustration that drives my campaigning work. I vehemently believe we must work to create a society where everyone has the conditions to thrive and be healthy. It is this vision that we can work together to improve people’s lives that drives my politics.