Sandi Toskvig founded the Women's Equality Party earlier this year

“Paying the bills for changing the world begins today.” With these words, declared by comedian and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, and met by raucous cheering and applause, the UK’s newest political force was launched.

Last week, I was among the 400 women (and a smattering of men) who descended on Conway Hall in central London for the inaugural fundraiser of the fresh-faced Women’s Equality Party.

The venue was appropriate: Conway Hall is known as the home of freethought in London, and above the stage reads the words, “To thine own self be true”. Fitting for a party looking to shake up the political landscape in a way never seen before in the UK.Toksvig founded the Women’s Equality Party in March of this year, with author and journalist Catherine Mayer. Since then, it has opened more than 40 branches across the country, and will hold its first policy launch in September. Its leaders have big plans for British politics.

This party is important. It is important because women in the UK still earn 81p to every male pound. What is worse, 45 years after the UK government passed the Equal Pay Act, the International Labour Organisation has reported that this gap has barely changed in 20 years, and is set to continue for another 70.

It is important because there are more men in the House of Commons today than there have been women ever elected to Parliament. Our most recently elected parliament proudly stated that it has the largest number of women MPs in history (191), but this number still remains far below the number of men (459). Before it pats itself on the back, perhaps parliament would do well to look at the work on equality that it still needs to do.

It is important because, according to official government statistics, one in five British women has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16, and up to three million women experience violence every year in the UK.

But the Women’s Equality Party is also important because of what it says about British politics today. This time around, smaller parties have taken our political system by storm: Plaid Cymru was invited to take to the stage in the leaders’ debates, the SNP now holds almost every seat in Scotland, and UKIP and the Greens received over five million votes between them.

For a long time, this country simply swung between Labour and the Conservatives (with the Liberal Democrats making a featured appearance every now and then), and is now faced with a range of political options that is more colourful than ever before. Where Britain was once in black and white, now it’s in Technicolor and 3D and sometimes the seat in front sprays water at you.

We can talk about polls and electoral reform and the demise of three-party politics (and we have), but what last month’s results really showed us, more than anything, is that things are changing. That this age-old democratic system, with its gilded chambers, Queen’s Speeches and morning prayers, is being forced into revolution, possibly against its will, but certainly not before time.

And the Women’s Equality Party has a great opportunity to take this revolution further. Since last month’s general election, there has been a great deal of disappointment, with 63 per cent of voters now governed by a party they did not cross a box for.

Nevertheless, I cannot help but think that this is a truly exciting time for British politics. After decades of staleness, and changeovers which change very little at all, what we are finally seeing in elections are options. Specifically, new options.

In her speech at the Women’s Equality Party fundraiser, Mayer confessed, somewhat sheepishly, to having taken inspiration from a seemingly unlikely source as she went about setting up her party: UKIP.

This is probably not as unlikely as it may at first seem. Many people in this country will take issue with its policies, attitudes and people, but there is no denying that UKIP has made an impact on the political scene. It may now only have one MP, but this is on the basis of almost four million votes. The party has spoken, people have listened, and, more than that, they have taken action.

What UKIP has managed to recognise – where Labour and the Tories have not – is that the British electorate is not just ready for change – it’s itching for it. The Green Party has also recognised this, as have the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and now the Women’s Equality Party.

I left Conway Hall last week, on reflection, optimistic. I cannot claim that the Women’s Equality Party holds all the answers, and I don’t imagine its leaders do either. But I am energised about what it all means – both on a policy level, and in the wider context of British politics. It appears as though people, fed up with the status quo, are finally starting to take back some control and make change happen.

We thought the revolution would come on the 7th May, and we were disappointed when we thought it hadn’t. Now we’re seeing that it’s only just begun.