Tag: General Election 2017

Virtual Hustings – Michael Thompson’s response

Virtual Hustings – Michael Thompson’s response

Thank you to Michael for responding to our questions. Michael is the Labour candidate for Bromsgrove.

1. A Caring Economy

What will you do to support carers – professional and family-based – and how will your social care policy understand their work as a vital social investment rather than as a financial drain? What will you do to build a caring economy?

The Labour Party does not believe that any individual whose capacity to care is a financial drain. Such people are core in our society. Our manifesto makes clear our pledge to build a public National Care Service alongside our NHS. Providing care is a responsibility of the state – those in care and those who provide care  do not come second to making a profit. Our pledges to provide equal rights to temporary and part-time workers, and our pledge to abolish zero-hours contracts indicate our position to support the rights of all workers. Our manifesto pledges to set targets to increase apprenticeships for people with disabilities, care leavers and veterans, and ensure broad representation of women, BAME, LGBT and people with disabilities in all kinds of apprenticeships.

2: The Impact of Brexit

What will you do to ensure that the voices of women by which we mean all women – white women and women of colour, disabled women, migrant women, LGBTQ+ women, younger and older women – are heard and their rights and needs are protected?

Labour has pledged in its manifesto to encapsulate into British law the equal rights that the EU gave British citizens. It is paramount to us that the country does not lose the rights the EU gave to women. Labour pledges to strengthen protections for women against unfair redundancy – because no one should be penalised for having children.

3: Women & Migration

What will you do to restructure the migration system, so that it responds adequately to the gendered realities of migration, separation and multiple marginalization of women and girl refugees?

It is important to differentiate between migrant workers and refugees.

For the former, we do not believe in setting numbers and targets. We believe a natural and positive equilibrium will be found by giving migrant workers equal rights as British workers to stop the exploitation and under-cutting that currently exists. In addition, we will set a minimum wage of £10/hour.

For the latter, Labour is proud to uphold Britain’s proud position to care and provide refuge from all those who run have traveled to Britain in fear of persecution, because of wars or otherwise.

What actions will you take as Member of Parliament to close the gender pay & pensions gap?

Labour brought in the Equal Pay Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equality Act, the Minimum Wage and introduced Sure Start. Every progressive piece of equality legislation has been delivered by Labour. Under the Conservatives, progress is being rolled back for women, people with disabilities, LGBT people and BAME communities.

Over 2.5 million women born in the 1950s have had their state pension age changed without fair notification. These women deserve both recognition for the injustice they have suffered and some kind of compensation for their losses. Alongside our commitment to extend Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women, Labour is exploring options for further transitional protections, to ensure that all these women have security and dignity in older age.

5: Equal Education

What will you do to ensure gender becomes irrelevant in our education system and ceases to influence the life chances of all our children?

Put simply, Labour will act to irradiate any process in education that forced an un-natural gender divide or gave disadvantaged women in education. As a teacher, I have worked hard to redress the balance of women in science and engineering.

6: Equal Parenting

How will you work with us to implement universal childcare and our other proposals to enable all families however constituted – and in employment or self-employment – to have a full and productive family and working life?

Undoubtedly Labour and I are committed to this.

7: WE require an end to violence against women and girls.

What will you do to ensure that women are safe in their homes, at work, study and in public, that they are believed when they report violence and harassment? What will you do to stamp out the culture that blames the victim and to reinstate vital women’s services that protect and support women and girls fleeing abuse?

We will ensure that under the Istanbul Convention, disability hate crime and violence against women with disabilities is reported annually, with national actions plans to address these issues. The level of violence against women and girls is not acceptable. Labour will emphasise the safety of women and girls by appointing a commissioner to set new standards for tackling domestic and sexual violence. We will establish a National Refuge Fund and ensure stability for rape crisis centres. We will strengthen the law, banning the use of community resolutions as a response to domestic violence. Labour will continue to enforce effective measures to prevent all forms of abuse, including female genital mutilation.

8: Equal Representation:

What will you do as an MP to ensure that women are elected, appointed and promoted at all levels in politics, business, arts, culture, sports, education/academia?

A Labour government will gender audit all policy and legislation for its impact on women before implementation. Labour is the party who introduced AWS.* Our national and local policies insist on equal representation on Labour boards and executives.

(Editor’s Note*AWS = All Women Shortlists)

9: Equal Health 

 What are your proposals to create a health service that recognizes gender difference and offers equality of care and research for all?

Cuts to public services, such as health, are landing disproportionately on women and ethnic minorities, with 86 per cent of the money raised from the Tories’ tax and social security changes coming from women’s pockets. Labour will introduce a civil enforcement system to ensure compliance with gender pay auditing – so that all workers have fair access to employment and promotion opportunities and are treated fairly at work.

10: Equality in the Media

How will you hold the media up to scrutiny and challenge the reductive gender stereotyping which it perpetuates? How will you act to end the attempts to suppress women’s and minority voices on social media?

 

To protect democracy and media freedom, I believe Labour will take steps to ensure regulation is better able to safeguard a healthy plurality of all media ownership and put in place clearer rules on what is proper in all areas of media.

 

 

 

Virtual Hustings – Joy Squires’ Response

Virtual Hustings – Joy Squires’ Response

Thank you to Joy for responding to our questions. Joy is the Labour party candidate for Worcester.

Thank you for the questions for the ‘virtual’ WEP hustings.

I am sorry that I am not in a position to provide the detailed answers that are required. Please do not take that as an indication that I am not interested in either WEP’s position on the issues listed or that I have nothing to say. Nothing could be further from the truth. But with a very short timeframe for this general election campaign,  my campaign schedule was set some time ago and there is insufficient flexibility in it for me to be able set aside the hours needed to do justice to your searching questions.

I am sorry if this means I come up short. Labour remains the Party that has done more to promote women’s equality than any other and done more to promote women in politics and promote issues that matter to women more than any other Party.

It is clear to me, however, that the Labour Party has much to do before it can meet the not unreasonable demands made by WEP. Should I be elected MP for Worcester on Thursday, I would hope that we can work constructively together to further the issues you have raised in your ‘virtual hustings’.

With all good wishes

Joy

 

 

 

WEP Virtual Hustings – Bromsgrove Constituency

WEP Virtual Hustings – Bromsgrove Constituency

On the 3rd of June we emailed 10 questions about Women’s Equality to all the candidates standing in the General Election 2017 in Worcestershire’s six constituencies.

We will post their answers here on Wednesday evening so you can see at a glance how they responded. Click on the links to see the responses.

These are the candidates for Bromsgrove

Savid Javid – Conservative

Michael Thompson – Labour

Neil Lewis – Liberal Democrats

Giovanni Esposito – Green

Virtual Hustings – Natalie McVey’s Response

Virtual Hustings – Natalie McVey’s Response

Thank you to Natalie for responding to our questions. Natalie is the Green party candidate for West Worcestershire.

1. A Caring Economy

What will you do to support carers – professional and family-based – and how will your social care policy understand their work as a vital social investment rather than as a financial drain? What will you do to build a caring economy?

I believe we should invest in the below areas as a priority:

  • Bring in universal, free childcare for all – this will aid parents when paid leave from work comes to an end, and will enable them to go back into work, knowing their child will be cared for
  • Increase the rate of pay for Carer’s Allowance to a minimum of £75/week (currently ~£67.20/week) and also have it increase at the rate of inflation each year, and recognise ‘unpaid’ informal care as eligible for Carer’s Allowance. Carer’s Allowance, should also be more flexible so that it can aid carers who also work whilst supporting family members, and ensure it is not means tested based on income.
  • Have an urgent, independent, review on the impact of cuts to social care funding, with an emphasis on the impact to disabled children and their carers. The Green Party would work towards restoring the funding for those frontline services which have borne the brunt of the cuts.
  • Work towards integrating both social care and health care services in order to better support our carers, and to ease the burden on the healthcare services.
  • Build more social housing, and making it affordable – cap rents to a certain amount (a third of the average income of the area, for example), remove the cap on family benefits, or at least exempt housing benefit from the cap, remove the bedroom tax which is undoubtedly discriminatory towards carers and disabled people.
  • Furthermore, when considering housing, we should also ensure that there is adequate funding for those fleeing from a dangerous or domestic violence situation, so that they have somewhere safe to go to, with support for children included, if involved. We understand that it is fundamentally important to ensure that those fleeing an abusive situation are supported so that they do not have to return to such a situation.
  • Reverse the changes to disability benefit – when claimants are moved over to Personal Independence Payments from Disability Living Allowance, if they have a life-long condition, they used to be entitled to a ‘indefinite’ claim, in recognition of the condition under DLA. When these claimants are moved to PIP they lose this indefinite claim status, thereby forcing them to undergo assessments to prove an entitlement to a benefit they already had. This causes unnecessary stress on families and carers, and should be prevented, with the indefinite claim status being maintained.

2: The Impact of Brexit

What will you do to ensure that the voices of women by which we mean all women – white women and women of colour, disabled women, migrant women, LGBTQ+ women, younger and older women – are heard and their rights and needs are protected?

In the seats where the Green Party have a real chance of winning, Brighton Pavilion, Bristol South, The Isle of Wight and Sheffield, our candidates are all women.

There are several keys points that Green Party MP’s would address as a priority, if elected.

  • Ensure any trade deals which are made in the event of Brexit do no impact negatively on either women.
  • Maintain any existing legislation we have derived from the EU with regards to equality, also heavily scrutinise the Repeal Bill to ensure it does not water down the legislation we already have.
  • Maintain membership of the Council of Europe and all the human rights implications which result from this, aka Human Rights Act, which should be maintained.
  • Scrutinise any deal which is made in the event of Brexit, to ensure that it does not disrupt the peace process made through the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

3: Women & Migration

 

What will you do to restructure the migration system, so that it responds adequately to the gendered realities of migration, separation and multiple marginalization of women and girl refugees?

Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley spent time with refugees, many of them unaccompanied children, in The Calais Jungle, days before it was demolished. What he experienced will stay with him for a life time.

The Green Party in Malvern Hills works closely in support of The Malvern Welcomes Group.

The Green Party would:

  • Ensure that equal rights for women and men are central to any international legislation which is made, likewise for any trade deals which are made between nations
  • Ensure that no person fleeing to another country to escape a domestic violence situation is returned to that country, unless their safety can be guaranteed. Women from another country who experience domestic abuse here in the UK and flee their partners should ne lose their right to remain in the UK
  • End the detention of pregnant and other vulnerable women at Yarl’s Wood detention centre. If women seeking asylum are pregnant or otherwise vulnerable, allow them the full support of social services and the NHS whilst a claim is being processed.
  • Work towards increasing the refugee quota, so we can take in more women and children.
  • Reduce fees for asylum and residency applications.

4: Equal Pay

What actions will you take as Member of Parliament to close the gender pay & pensions gap?

I think that the way that the WASPI Women have been treated has been appalling.

In terms of specific policy, The Green Party would commit to the following;

  • Introduce universal, free childcare for all. This this will aid parents when paid leave from work comes to an end, and will enable them to go back into work, knowing their child will be cared for. This would be brought in to cover the end of paid parental leave after six/nine months.
  • Require that the gender pay gap be broken down further when reported – eg. Age and ethnicity and bring down the requirements for reporting to companies employing more than 50 people, not just large companies with more than 250 employees.
  • Improve the laws protecting women who lose their jobs when they go on maternity leave so that they protect women from the time that they announce their pregnancy.
  • Introduce in a £10 / hour Living Wage.
    • Ensure that security provision seeks to reduce income inequality rather than propagate it it.
    • Review the tax relief for single pensions and work towards bringing in a new, single rate.

5: Equal Education

What will you do to ensure gender becomes irrelevant in our education system and ceases to influence the life chances of all our children?

I have worked in education for over 10 years. I have direct experience of the issue you you point out.

Fundamentally, to address these issues, The Green Party would:

  • Provide free access to sanitary products in school in order to ensure no girl misses school or has to leave during the day in the case of otherwise not having access to these products.
  • Remove gender stereotypes from school. Encourage children to play with whatever they choose to in early years education. Allow either gender to wear the version of the school uniform they prefer.
  • Ensure that Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) is delivered to children throughout their educational life so they always have access to advice on respect within relationships, gender identity, sexual-related topics and issues such as that of consent.
  • Ensure that sexism is treated similarly as bullying within a school setting, with a view to eradicating it from the schooling and education system.
  • Personally, as a former Careers Information Advice and Guidance Professional, I would reintroduce specialist impartial careers advice to all students. I feel that this would help to challenge some of the existing stereotypes regarding a woman’s career options.

6: Equal Parenting

How will you work with us to implement universal childcare and our other proposals to enable all families however constituted – and in employment or self-employment – to have a full and productive family and working life?

This is an issue where I see many synergies between Green Party and WEP Policy and would welcome the opportunity to work together.

Specific Green Party Policy centres around;

  • Introducing a system whereby either parent can take 9 months paid leave from work and free childcare provision to allow both parents to work, if required, when this period ends.
  • Ensuring that self-employed parents to have the same rights and protections as employed parents. Bizarrely they don’t at the moment, so many feel under pressure to find employment before pregnancy, when self-employment may suit the individual better.
  • We would make sure baby changing facilities are available for both genders in public settings.
  • We would better protect cohabiting couples with children who are not married and give them the same access to mediation and other services.
  • We would review the  current arrangements for payment of child maintenance to investigate whether there is a way to have payments underwritten in case of the possibility of an absent parent being unable to make a payment. This would relieve potential financial burden on the caring parent in the case of missed payment.

7: WE require an end to violence against women and girls.

What will you do to ensure that women are safe in their homes, at work, study and in public, that they are believed when they report violence and harassment? What will you do to stamp out the culture that blames the victim and to reinstate vital women’s services that protect and support women and girls fleeing abuse?

I have worked with Worcester Rape Crisis as a volunteer, so have seen how important it is for women to be able to access help and support when they need it. This could be immediately following an incident or 30-40 years later/

In terms of policy, The Green Party would:

  • Ensure that anyone fleeing a domestic violence situation is offered a safe place to live, and does not have to face the possibility of returning to the situation they were fleeing from.
  • Provide better funded provision for services for advocacy and support for women who have been raped, ensuring that it is available for all, regardless of their BAME status or age.
  • Monitor the perpetrators of violence and harassment so that they are more restricted from accessing their victim once they have been convicted, if jail sentences  have not been given.
  • Provide better services for male victims of domestic abuse so that services can specialise in male or female abuse and tailor responses rather than the current model which either offers a gender-neutral advice system, or neglects male abuse. In many cases the needs for both genders suffering from abuse differ and this should be reflected in the services offered.
  • Reintroduce legal aid for anyone suffering from domestic abuse. Alongside this we would provide better training for officers and officials dealing with abuse cases. I think that it is pertinent that those accused of domestic abuse are not allowed to cross-examine their victim in court.
  • We would work towards ending FGM on a national and international scale.
  • Decriminalise prostitution, recognising it as a valid form of work, and protect those working in the industry. Any money raised from taxing of the sex industry should be used to fund an exit programme from the industry.
  • Properly educate children and young people about sexual consent.

8: Equal Representation:

What will you do as an MP to ensure that women are elected, appointed and promoted at all levels in politics, business, arts, culture, sports, education/academia?

 

As a manager in my day job and a newly elected District Councillor, I have witnessed gender imbalance and will be working hard to redress the balance.

Specifically, The Green Party would:

  • Introduce ‘gender blind’ applications for all posts in industry, so that gender is not a required answer on an application form, and the application is based on the merits of the person applying for the role.
  • Seek to empower women to feel more inspired and encouraged to take up high posts, or positions in politics. As I previously mentioned, this empowerment should come at an early age through impartial Careers Information, Advice and Guidance by well trained professionals. education.
  • There are many countries which have representative democracies, particularly in Scandinavia. We should learn form these examples and adapt our systems accordingly.
  • We would make it illegal for companies to have all-male boards and chairs.
  • We would enforce existing laws against gender discrimination, especially for those who work part-time.
  • Encourage a system where people are judged on their merits and abilities, not their gender.
  • Reform the voting system, including making it more accessible by more introducing electronic voting.

9: Equal Health 

 What are your proposals to create a health service that recognizes gender difference and offers equality of care and research for all?

The Green Party would:

  • Facilitate an inquiry into why there are such inequalities in healthcare.
  • Put an end to the models of research which perpetuates a bias towards men
    i.e human models used for research were male, or not enough females took part in the research. This would recognise there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach that can be used for medical and healthcare research.
  • Ensure that there is universal access to sexual health services, alongside universal access to reproductive advice for both genders. Everyone should have access to free contraception as well as free emergency contraception if required.
  • Decriminalise abortion in the whole of the UK, recognising that women have the right to choose.
  • A better integrated health and social care system would ensure that all needs are cared for, and no requirements are missed. In my opinion, a more concerted effort should be put into prevention and education, rather than intervention.
  • Ensure that the NHS, our national treasure, is adequately funded, free at the point of use, and protected from a creeping privatisation.
    • Ensure that mental health is treated with parity to physical health.
    • End the 1% freeze on public sector pay.
  • Reinstate the student nurses bursary and ensure that all negotiations with regards to changes or contracts are conducted with both the BMA and the RCN.

10: Equality in the Media

How will you hold the media up to scrutiny and challenge the reductive gender stereotyping which it perpetuates? How will you act to end the attempts to suppress women’s and minority voices on social media?

You may be aware that Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has been an active campaigner for the ‘No More Page 3’ Campaign. If elected i would join her in fighting for an end to the objectification of women.

Generally speaking, The Green Party would;

  • Update ASA standards to disallow the undisclosed airbrushing of models, and adverts featuring models of an unhealthy weight, so as to not encourage women to aspire to such images.
  • Strengthen the current OFCOM legislation around the broadcasting of idealised images. Push companies use more ‘normal’ weight models and ensure that companies cannot ask models to lose weight as a term of employment.

You may be aware that we recently launched a Women’s Manifesto which I am positive will answer any unanswered questions you may have.

https://greenpartywomen.org.uk/assets/files/gpwomen-files/Women’s%20Manifesto%20online%20(2).pdf

I hope that The Green Party and WEP continue to work together for a fairer, more equal society.

 

 

 

 

WEP Virtual Hustings – West Worcestershire Constituency

WEP Virtual Hustings – West Worcestershire Constituency

On the 1st of June we emailed 10 questions about Women’s Equality to all the candidates standing in the General Election 2017 in Worcestershire’s six constituencies.

We will post their answers here on Wednesday evening so you can see at a glance how they responded. Click on the links to see the responses.

These are the candidates for West Worcestershire

Harriett Baldwin– Conservative

Samantha Charles – Labour

Edward McMillan-Scott – Liberal Democrats

Natalie McVey – Green

Mike Savage – UKIP

Virtual Hustings – Susan Juned’s Response

Virtual Hustings – Susan Juned’s Response

Thank you to Susan for responding to our questions. Susan is the Lib Dem party candidate for Redditch.

1. A Caring Economy

What will you do to support carers – professional and family-based – and how will your social care policy understand their work as a vital social investment rather than as a financial drain? What will you do to build a caring economy?

  1. Equal Parenting: I am proud that the Liberal Democrats have a fully-costed care package of nine months shared parental leave and free universal childcare of 40 hours from 9 months.
  2. Equality for carers: I looked after my husband when he was ill before he died, so I have a very small insight into the needs of carers. For far too long the needs of carers have been ignored and overlooked. The Liberal Democrats want to introduce measures that will support the vital work they do. We recognise that carers are facing several financial pressures because of reduced earnings due to taking on caring responsibilities. Liberal Democrats want to do more to help carers make ends meet by making more families on modest incomes eligible for Carer’s Allowance, working to raise the amount you can earn before losing Carer’s Allowance to £150 a week and also reduce the number of hours care per week which is needed to qualify, from 35 to 20. This change will mean that more carers are more able to combine work with caring without losing out on Carer’s Allowance.
    We will also give the NHS a legal duty to identify carers and develop a Carer’s Passport scheme to inform carers of their NHS rights, such as flexible visiting hours and access to support. We will also ensure those who work in the social care sector are properly trained, with accessible career pathways, and are suitable to practice by introducing a statutory code of conduct backed up by a care workers’ suitability register.
    Current measures are inflexible and restrictive for both parents and children and that is why our manifesto makes several proposals on providing families with better childcare options.
  3. Childcare: We will immediately provide 15 hours a week of free childcare to the parents of all two-year- olds in England (currently it is only received by 40% of two-year-olds). We will next prioritise 15 hours’ free childcare for all working parents in England with children aged between nine months and two years, to bridge the gap between the end of maternity leave and the existing provision for two-year-olds. These changes are costed commitments in our Manifesto.
    In the longer term, we will set a goal of 30 hours’ free childcare a week for all parents in England with children aged from two to four years, and all working parents from the end of paid parental leave to two years. This will not only help parents afford to work, but will also help all children start school confident, happy and ready to learn.
    Provision should be fully funded at sustainable levels, provide flexibility for parents who work unsocial hours and enable parents to use free hours during school holidays.
    In addition to extending childcare, there are other measures that would help to promote equal parenting. Whilst we were successful in introducing Shared Parental Leave in coalition government, we want to go further expanded with an additional month of paid parental leave for fathers to encourage greater sharing of parental responsibilities. We would also encourage employers to provide more flexible working, making this a ‘day-one’ right, so that there is a presumption that work is flexible unless there is a clear business reason it cannot be.

 

2: The Impact of Brexit

What will you do to ensure that the voices of women by which we mean all women – white women and women of colour, disabled women, migrant women, LGBTQ+ women, younger and older women – are heard and their rights and needs are protected?

The Liberal Democrats are a pro-European party and one of the many reasons we fought so hard to stay in the EU is because of how successful the EU has been in safeguarding the interests of women. The EU has introduced a series of directives which have been adopted into UK law; from minimum requirements on maternity leave, equal pay for equal work and permitting expectant mothers to attend prenatal hospital appointments without the fear of loss of pay. These measures have given women greater security and opportunity in the work place. If these rights are weakened, our society will be even more unequal than it is now. We are clear that the Brexit process must not destroy or dilute these hard-fought rights and we are clear that women’s rights are non-negotiable in the upcoming negotiations. That is why we will:

  • Vote against any attempts to scrap the Human Rights Act or withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights – both of which have underpinned much of the success achieved in equality legislation
  • Fight to ensure that equalities legislation that is designed to secure women’s rights is not revised or erased during the Brexit negotiations.

We will also introduce new legislation to advance gender equality:

  • Following our success in gender pay reporting we will extend the Equality Act to all large companies with more than 250 employees, requiring them to monitor and publish data on gender, BAME, and LGBT+ employment levels and pay gaps.
  • Fund more extensive childcare and provide better back-to-work support to get a million more women into work 2025 – this will ensure that the responsibilities of care and parental leave are divided between both parents, increasing the opportunities for women to return to work and advance their careers, should they wish to do so.

We will offer refuge to people fleeing countries where their sexual orientation or gender identification means that they risk imprisonment, torture or execution, and stop deporting people at risk to such countries.

 

3: Women & Migration

What will you do to restructure the migration system, so that it responds adequately to the gendered realities of migration, separation and multiple marginalization of women and girl refugees?

I am someone who has lived overseas and visited countries that have descended into crisis and conflict and seen the work done by those who work in these countries for organisations such as the UN and aid agencies.

I want our immigration system to work better for everyone. The UK has always been a place of refuge and safety for those fleeing conflict and war and we believe that now is not the time to turn our back on the world. We are fighting to ensure that Britain remains a sanctuary for those fleeing conflict from countries like Syria, this includes those most at risk of danger and violence including women and young girls. Our manifesto has made a commitment to offer safe and legal routes to the UK for refugees and to expand the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme to offer sanctuary to 50,000 people over the lifetime of the next parliament.

The sad fact is that those women with no recourse to public services are more likely to fall victim to poverty, homelessness and isolation and their independence is often reduced. We will introduce a number of measures to increase the protections of those seeking asylum.

  • Liberal Democrats will speed up the processing of asylum claims, reducing the time genuine refugees must wait before they can settle into life in the UK- we want to ensure that genuine asylum seekers are not waiting an excessively long period of time for a decision to be made on their claim. It is perfectly sensible that asylum seekers who are able to work should do so if they are waiting for longer than 6 months- increasing their financial freedom
  • Liberal Democrats want to end the use of the Azure card, which we believe leads to unnecessary hardship. Liberal Democrats believe that the Azure Card is unjust and impractical for several reasons. Firstly, it can only be used in designated shops. This means that the card cannot be used for travel, making it difficult for someone to travel to a hospital or legal appointment for example. It also means that card users are not able to get the best value for money.

 

 

 

 

4: Equal Pay

What actions will you take as Member of Parliament to close the gender pay & pensions gap?

It is shocking that in 2017 women are still being short changed in the work place. Our gender pay gap affects pensions because when women earn less than men and they have fewer opportunities to save and are more likely to have a lower state pension. We fought hard for gender pay gap reporting in coalition government. This became a law April 2017- requiring companies with more than 250 employees to report on their gender pay gap every year. But we know that the fight cannot end there, because ethnic minority and disabled women are still more likely to underpaid and undervalued compared to other groups. That is why we now campaigning to ensure that the Equality Act is extended requiring companies with 250 employees or more to monitor and publish data on gender, BAME, and LGBT+ employment levels and pay gaps.

We want to increase security in old age for all people therefore we will:

  1. Maintain the ‘triple lock’ of increasing the state pension each year by the highest of earnings growth, prices growth or 2.5% for the next parliament.
  2. Establish a review to consider the case for, and practical implications of, introducing a single rate of tax relief for pensions, which would be designed to be simpler and fairer and would be set more generously than the current 20% basic rate relief

5: Equal Education

What will you do to ensure gender becomes irrelevant in our education system and ceases to influence the life chances of all our children?

We are clear that equality of education remains a major issue and we need to destroy the toxic attitudes that discourage girls from studying certain subjects – based on the perception that only certain subjects should be open to either gender. We have made a manifesto commitment to challenge gender stereotyping and to work with schools to break down outdated perceptions of gender appropriateness of particular academic subjects. Education should give pupils a rich and varied experience of different subjects and skills, that is why we need to dismantle the inherit sexism in the traditional boys vs girl jobs debate. We want to introduce a ‘curriculum for life’ which includes subjects such as financial literacy, entrepreneurship and science. We will also work with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase the number of apprentices from BAME backgrounds, ensure gender balance across industry sectors and encourage under-represented groups to apply.

6: Equal Parenting

How will you work with us to implement universal childcare and our other proposals to enable all families however constituted – and in employment or self-employment – to have a full and productive family and working life?

 

 

7: WE require an end to violence against women and girls.

What will you do to ensure that women are safe in their homes, at work, study and in public, that they are believed when they report violence and harassment? What will you do to stamp out the culture that blames the victim and to reinstate vital women’s services that protect and support women and girls fleeing abuse?

The Liberal Democrats are clear that violence against women and girls must be brought to an end. Domestic violence remains a hidden crime that has a catastrophic impact on the lives of women. Between 2009 and 2015, 936 women have been killed by men – 598 (64%) were killed by their current or former partners; and there were an estimated 1.8 million adults aged 16 to 59 who said they were a victim of domestic abuse in the last year. This is simply unacceptable.

It has been revealed that police forces are ‘downgrading’ 999 calls and high-risk victims of domestic violence are being “reclassified” as only medium-risk because police forces are too “overwhelmed” by their workload to offer proper support.

Moreover, victims may not want to be involved in the prosecution for several reasons, for example due to the level of fear and control exerted by the perpetrator. Clearly more needs to be done to support victims during the prosecution process.

As a result, the Liberal Democrats will review the investigation procedures and rules of evidence in cases of domestic violence, bringing together experts and practitioners to conduct the review in the first half of the new Parliament.

8: Equal Representation

What will you do as an MP to ensure that women are elected, appointed and promoted at all levels in politics, business, arts, culture, sports, education/academia?

 

The Liberal Democrats are proud that we have put several measures in place specifically designed to diversify our selection of candidates. Last year the party voted to adopt all women shortlists when selecting candidates who are replacing sitting MPs. This has increased the female representation in both our target and non-target seats; 50% of our target seat candidates are female. We also have almost 60 more females standing for election than there were in 2010.

The party has also provided training and mentoring opportunities for aspiring female MPs such as our Future Women MPs weekends which is an intense residential course on aimed at giving women an unique insight into how they can secure a seat in parliament. We were also the first party to reserve spaces on the shortlists of winnable seats for underrepresented candidates including women, BAME, LGBT+ and disabled candidates. We also want the act to be extended to allow political parties to have all BAME and all LGBT+ shortlists.

We want to make Parliament more family-friendly, and establish a review to pave the way for MP job-sharing arrangements, which will make it easier for woman to consider a Parliamentary career.

We will also drive forward diversity in business leadership, pushing for at least 40% of board members being women in FTSE 350 companies.

As an individual I was the first person in my family to attend university. I have a PhD, Masters and a degree and had a successful academic and business career. I was a councillor for many years and served as the Leader of the Council for three of those years. My lead councillors group were an equal number of excellent women and men.

9: Equal Health 

 What are your proposals to create a health service that recognizes gender difference and offers equality of care and research for all?

There is no doubt that out NHS is in crisis and we need to put better measures in place to support both patients and NHS staff. Our pledge for a 1p tax rise to is a clear and credible plan for how we raise the money and get it into the NHS and the care system. This would ultimately raise an additional £6 billion a year- increasing care opportunities for women. We will also:

  • Direct this additional investment to the following priority areas in the health and care system: social care, primary care (and other out-of-hospital care), mental health and public health. This represents the most efficient and effective way of spending these extra resources – ensuring they will have the greatest impact on the quality of care patients receive.
  • Transform mental health support for pregnant women, new mothers and those who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, and help them get early care when needed.

 

10: Equality in the Media

How will you hold the media up to scrutiny and challenge the reductive gender stereotyping which it perpetuates? How will you act to end the attempts to suppress women’s and minority voices on social media?

The UK is diverse and that diversity should be celebrated and visible on in all forms of media. As Liberal Democrats, we believe in freedom of expression and condemn any attempts to silence or threaten women and other minority groups. Social media offers all people a platform to express themselves and everyone should have the freedom to do so freely, without fear of humiliation or abuse. Sadly, social media has made it easier to commit crime online. Many ethnic minority women are victims of racism online; we want to reduce by this by targeting the people who commit it and we will push for harsher sentencing of perpetrators.