Tag: Greens

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.

 

 

 

 

Virtual Hustings – Worcester Green Party Response

Virtual Hustings – Worcester Green Party Response

Thank you to Marjory Bissett & Sally Nall for responding to our questions. Marjory is the Chair of Worcester Green party responding on behalf of Louis Stephen Green candidate for Worcester.

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 Green Party has always been committed to equality of opportunity. We recognise that the burden of caring work, both paid and unpaid, falls disproportionately on women. In part one of our Green Guarantee 2017, we outline key manifesto points which would play a part in addressing this issue1.

  • Take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income, including a government sponsored pilot scheme, to increase security and avoid the poverty trap.
  • Phase in a four-day working week (a maximum of 35 hours) and abolish exploitative zero hours contracts.
  • Reduce the gap between the highest and lowest paid, and increase the minimum wage to reach a genuine living wage of £10 an hour by 2020.
  • Support and promote small businesses, co-operatives and mutuals, and the roll out of high speed broadband.

Since women tend to take on the bulk of caring responsibility for sick family members, sometimes having to go so far as to take sick days themselves to provide emergency care, and very often taking on almost all the responsibility for caring for disabled children, elderly relatives and partners, we would vastly improve health and social care by properly funding our NHS. In part four of our Green Guarantee, we make manifesto pledges to this effect2.

  • Close the NHS spending gap and provide an immediate cash injection, to ensure everyone can access a GP, hospitals can run properly, and staff are fairly paid.
  • Major investment in social care for the elderly and all those who need it.
  • Increase funding for local authorities so they can provide good quality public services and invest in our communities, creating thousands of jobs. A single budget covering health and social services, to make life easier for people who need to access several types of service.
  • We will review the effectiveness of how public services are structured, sensitive to the needs of all people, including assessment of how care is provided at the transition age of 18.
  • Redress benefits injustice with a social security system that gives everyone confidence they will get support when they need it, including disabled people.

In 2016, Worcestershire Mums’ Network organised a protest at County Hall against cuts to children’s centres 3. This protest was attended by Green Party candidate Louis Stephen, and was supported in the vote by county councillors Matthew Jenkins and John Raine 4. There was support for the protest from the local Green Party on social media as well as in person 5.

The Green Party would support parents by providing free universal early education and childcare from age one until the age the child starts school.

We recognise the value of work done by carers, and would significantly increase investment in social care and support for those (usually women) who take on this role 6.

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?

We think that BREXIT is not a foregone conclusion. The question posed in the referendum was very simple. We believe that once the terms of the deal are known, there should be a second referendum so that the people decide whether to take the deal or stay in the EU 7.

We would fight to keep the national debate honest.

We would:

  • Take action to tackle racism and discrimination on the basis of faith, real equality for LGBTIQA+ people, equal rights for mixed gender couples to have a Civil Partnership 8
  • Implement a humane immigration and asylum system that recognises and takes responsibility for Britain’s ongoing role in causing the flow of migrants worldwide 9
  • Implement a UK-wide strategy to tackle gender based violence, including domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse, FGM and trafficking.


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?

The Green Party campaigned to remain in the EU, and will continue to put pressure on those involved in Brexit negotiations to protect the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and to seek reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens living in the EU.

This will protect people of all genders, but will be of particular importance to women, as it would resist the splitting up of families, and as women provide the majority of childcare, they will be in a precarious situation if the family is split and they effectively become single mothers 10.

We recognise that women are more likely than men to be trapped in abusive relationships, due to higher reliance on men (often part of financial abuse), and that the difficulties women face in finding any employment, let alone well-paid employment, can force women to stay in unsafe relationships by necessity.

Implementing a Universal Income would make it easier for women to escape abusive relationships, as they would have a guaranteed income. Our support for start-up companies, small businesses, and creative enterprises would make women more able to create employment for themselves, and our universal childcare from age one to the age the child starts school would help mothers to thrive, should they choose to find employment outside the home1112.

The Green Party will prosecute cases of female genital mutilation (FGM), but also prevent them. We would do this by implementing the recommendations made by the Home Affairs Committee to introduce compulsory PSHE, which includes FGM 13 14.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas tabled a Bill in Parliament to introduce PSHE in all schools, saying, ‘It is vital that young women and men are given education designed to end gender-based violence and that young women are empowered and given a framework within which to discuss their own fears and experiences of FGM’.

Caroline Lucas also wrote to the then Home Secretary Theresa May, to call on the Government to introduce mandatory training on FGM as part of child protection15.

The Green Party recognises that not all migration is legal, but that this in no way detracts from the fundamental human rights of the people who have come here. We would push for a humane immigration and asylum system 16.

Women claiming asylum can sometimes find themselves victimised by the very system which should be protecting them. Our 2017 Women’s Manifesto seeks to tackle the problems caused by immigration detention in these key ways:17

  • Immediately act to protect the most vulnerable asylum seekers who have experienced rape, sexual abuse or torture, by allowing their clams to be processed in the community
  • Implement a three-month maximum processing time for asylum applications
  • Fund integrated support for asylum seekers
  • Abolish immigration detention centres to enable all claims to be processed in the community

The issue of illegal immigration is complex, nuanced, and too large to go into in its entirely here, so the focus will be on one of the most insidious forms of violence against women – trafficking.

Fees demanded by traffickers often place trafficked people and their families in debt. In some countries, this extends to debt bondage. By placing trafficked people in debt bondage, or by exploiting their vulnerable status in a country in which they now live illegally and often without knowledge of local language, traffickers force those who have been trafficked into activities in which they would not otherwise engage. Some are forced to work for a pittance, some into domestic servitude, some, particularly women, into the sex industry, and some into crime.

The Green Party considers that such trafficking in human beings is a gross violation of human rights. Any proposals to deal with this problem should not further victimise those who are already its victims.

The Government should recognise that those who have been trafficked are the victims of human rights violations and potential witnesses to criminal investigations and prosecutions of the traffickers. Victims should not be subject to summary deportation or expulsion on the grounds of illegal or irregular entry into or residence in the country. Nor should they be prosecuted for any lack of identity documents or other minor offences which are directly attributable to their position as a victim of trafficking 18.

In our 2017 Women’s Manifesto, we introduced pledges designed to tackle the problems faced by women who find themselves in this situation. Although we would decriminalise all consensual sex work, in line with research from Amnesty International and the UN, not all sex-workers are willing participants and we must protect them too 19. We would amend existing criminal records held by sex-workers, and push for zero tolerance of coercion, violence, and sexual abuse.

4: Equal Pay

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

We would end the gender pay gap, and require a minimum 40% of all members of public company and public sector boards to be women 20.

On pensions we would redress pension injustice, with a pensions system for everyone and action to enable older people to continue to be active members of society 21.

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?

The Greens pledged to end “period poverty” by providing towels and tampons to secondary school pupils5152.

Emotional literacy and well-being, social skills and physical well-being including education in sex and relationships which will build on existing good practice. This will be achieved through a broad learning environment and through more rigorous teacher training which focuses on these issues

We will teach practical life skills such as basic cooking, DIY skills, first aid, and managing of bank accounts. Children of all genders should learn these skills, rather than continuing to have skills segregated along gender lines.

We will provide education in social skills and relationships through cooperative and participative learning including group work in all areas of the curriculum and which encourages responsibility in young people, for example by enabling them to organise trips and activities.

Schools will be free from advertising and marketing, where the values and stereotypes employed in advertising and marketing can be explored, discussed and, where necessary, challenged.

As part of their duty of care schools will have strong and effective anti-bullying policies which will recognise the vulnerabilities of children from different backgrounds to the majority of pupils or who are LGBTIQA+ or have learning disabilities.

Equality and diversity will be monitored in recruitment and staff development for teaching and other educational staff.

In higher education, we require a commitment by employers to address the gender pay gap with immediate effect.

Universities will offer real support to mature students and students with families. There will be a minimum requirement for Universities and Higher Education Institutions to offer a free crèche to students and staff, nappy changing and breast-feeding facilities as well as religious facilities such as prayer spaces to cater for people from a wide range of ages, religions and ethnic backgrounds.

Accessibility will be addressed through a combination of these institutions offering Widening Participation Programmes and creating a series of firm targets which will ensure increased social diversity53.

The Green Party has consistently pushed for proper sex and relationship education (SRE). SRE should be age-appropriate, start at a sufficiently early age and continue throughout young people’s education. As part of the SRE curriculum, children should be fully aware of puberty before it happens, relationships should be taught as well as the physical aspects of sex and the potential consequences of sex before sexual activity begins. As part of SRE access to sexual health services should be made available in secondary schools, either on site or integrated with local young people’s sexual health services535455.

We will abolish the requirement for a compulsory daily act of worship. Schools which choose to continue to hold acts of worship will provide an alternative activity for learners who choose not to take part. Pupils who do not participate in worship will not suffer any form of discrimination.

Religious instruction, as distinct from religious education in understanding different religions may only take place outside of school curriculum time.

No publicly-funded school shall be run by a religious organisation. Schools may teach about religions, comparing examples which originated in each continent, but are prohibited from delivering religious instruction in any form or encouraging adherence to any particular religious belief.

Privately-funded schools run by religious organisations must reflect the inclusive nature of British society and become part of the Local Authority admissions system. This non-discriminatory approach will be extended to staff who must not be discriminated against in faith schools due to their own faith either in seeking employment or during employment.

Opt-outs from equality and diversity legislation will not be allowed for faith schools and they will not be permitted to promote homophobia or transphobia on the grounds of religion5356.

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?

The Green Party would provide free universal early education and childcare for all children, with formal education starting at age 722.

We would work to reduce the inequality in our society that holds people back. You can find many relevant polices in our manifesto, such as:

On the economy we would :

  • Take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income, including a government sponsored pilot scheme, as a means to increase security and avoid the poverty trap.
  • Phase in a 4 day working week (a maximum of 35 hours) and abolish exploitative zero hours contracts.
  • Reduce the gap between the highest and lowest paid, and increase the minimum wage to reach a genuine living wage of £10 an hour by 2020 23.
    On housing we would implement:

A living rent for all through rent controls and more secure tenancies for private renters, an end to letting fees and the introduction of mandatory licensing for all landlords.
A major programme to build affordable, zero carbon homes, including 100,000 social rented homes each year by 2022.

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 Green Party takes this issue very seriously. There are many connected reasons why domestic violence continues in the UK at high rates. One is the underlying high level of inequality in the UK. Studies have shown that violence is higher in unequal societies. The Green Party will fight for equality 24.

We have comprehensive policies for reducing domestic violence 25.

We will adopt a comprehensive strategy for reducing and ultimately ending hate crime, wherever it occurs 26.

We believe that education in the UK is inadequate when it comes to teaching children about emotional literacy and relationships. We would put this right 27.

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 Green Party had a fine track record in this area, with our one MP, our one member of the House of Lords, two of our three MEPs, and our two London Assembly members all women. Our best hopes for winning new seats in this election are all women too. When we select candidates, we try as hard as possible to achieve a 50/50 balance.

The Green Party would improve female engagement and involvement in politics. We would:

  • Introduce proportional representation (PR) for general elections and local elections. This in itself would increase the number of woman candidates, MPs and local councillors.
  • Increase diversity in representative politics, with job-shares, a 50/50 Parliament, and replacing the House of Lords with an elected second chamber
  • Enable every young person to take an active role in democracy, introducing non-biased political education and promoting active citizenship 28

By reducing general equality, we believe we would provide the conditions for women to thrive and compete equally. More equal societies tend to have more female representatives in politics, business etc. 29 Our education polices would also help to reduce the current levels of discrimination against women.

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?

Scientific research is vital for any society to flourish. Scientists and doctors are the grown-up versions of the children who took apart their toys to see how they worked, and never stopped asking, “Why?” Whilst great strides have been made in terms of representation of women in medicine and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) fields, we still have a gulf to cross if we are to see gender parity in these professions, and the way to cross that gulf is to encourage girls to maintain their interest in science and maths while they are still in school.

The Green Party is aware of the ways in which girls can be discouraged from pursuing an interest in science, perhaps feeling that science is ‘for boys’. In September 2016, The Green Party’s equalities spokesperson Sarah Cope campaigned for an exhibit in the Science Museum to be changed, as it showed ‘male’ brains and ‘female’ brains (naturally, they displayed these as blue and pink respectively), despite there not being enough evidence of gender disparity in brains to merit such a distinction. Cope stated that, ““It’s really disappointing to see the Science Museum reinforcing outdated gender stereotypes in this way. The idea of gendered brains is dubious science at best, and this kind of sexism – telling girls at a young age that they have feminine brains – is part of the reason why boys still dominate STEM subjects and less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women” 30.

The obstacles thrown up in education do not end in school. When women enter higher education, they may be negatively affected by sexual harassment, which is why our 2017 Women’s Manifesto contains the pledge:  

‘Make universities and colleges safe places to learn Higher and further educational establishments will develop clear student-led policies to combat sexual abuse and harassment. These will include the requirement to monitor levels of sexual violence, and training for both staff and to enable peer-to-peer support.’31

After completing years of training to become qualified in STEM and medical subjects, the next challenge is to find a job. Funding for research is woefully inadequate in the UK, with much of the funding coming from the EU. The looming spectre of Brexit has hit science hard, and the Green Party is committed to giving the British public a say on the outcome of Brexit negotiations.  32

Not only would the drop in funding hurt our science base, but it would have potentially disastrous consequences for collaboration on scientific research between UK and EU citizens. The Green Party is firm on our commitment to ensuring rights for EU citizens living in the UK 33.

In addition to this, the Green Party would increase funding for science. 34

Green party spokesman, James Abbott, who studied astronomy, said his party would double the amount that government spends on research and development, to about 1% of GDP – a commitment that, so far, no other party has made. “We are going to need the best scientists with the best technology in order to deal with some of the very serious issues we face as a society globally, so we are absolutely passionate – but also for learning about science and enjoying it in its own right”. 35

We would also Create Green jobs for more women in STEM in renewables and sustainability. Currently, just 5% of engineering apprentices are women. The Green Party would ensure that the roll-out of Green Jobs would be accompanied by specific initiatives to train and encourage young women to fill these roles.

As outlined above, appropriate education in schools is vital if we want our children to flourish, and that’s why we think that there should be compulsory Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) in schools.36

This will ensure children have knowledge of a variety of topics, including sexual health. Sex and relationship education is essential for all children, and especially for girls, as girls have the most to gain from all genders learning about birth control, abortion, sexual coercion, sexual violence, and consent.

We would also extend the HPV vaccine to include vaccination for boys.  

Another obstacle girls can face is period poverty, which we would end by providing sanitary products in schools. Girls should not have to miss out of education because they can’t afford sanitary products. 37

The Green Party launched a dedicated Mental Health Manifesto in 2017, which will roll out of new school-based therapy to treat mental ill health earlier and awareness and empathy education to limit the likelihood of bullying.

We will also give mental health parity of esteem with physical health and make sure everyone who needs psychological therapy receives it within 28 days of being referred [9].38

Mental health is a gendered issue.  

Women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders, and are also more likely to be diagnosed with other common mental health problems.  

Those who are trans, identify as non-binary and/ or express themselves in ways that challenge stereotypical ideas about gender also face high levels of mental health problems. It is estimated that 40% of non-binary people in the UK have attempted suicide.  

Despite the clear documentation of the disproportionate impact mental health problems have on our wellbeing compared to other illnesses, funding is falling further and further behind.  

The Green Party would:

  • Bring spending on mental health care in line with spending on physical health care. Targets should be introduced for speed of access to mental health services, bringing mental health care in line with other serious health issues. This includes a maximum wait time between referral and initial appointment for psychological therapies. »  
  • Recognise the need for specialist services.
  • We would ensure that community specific mental health programs for those who are LGBTIQA+ are well funded.  
  • We would also reduce barriers for people of colour receiving care by funding community specific outreach programs, focused upon raising awareness and reducing stigma of mental health problems.

Local candidate Louis Stephen has frequently spoken about the need to address mental health funding seriously, and co-leader Jonathan Bartley and deputy leader Amelia Womack chose Worcester as the place to unveil the Green Party Mental Health Manifesto. 39

Leading on from mental health provision, women are far more likely than men to be carers for friends and family, so we would support carers by progressively increase Carer’s Allowance, until everyone is given a basic income to support themselves. E would also increase funding for social services, both through central funding and an increase in funding to councils who provide these services. By providing enough funding for proper implementation of the 2014 Care Act, we will be able to provide disabled people with the support they may need to find and stay in employment, as well as providing much needed support to unpaid, mostly female, carers who are currently trying to fill in the gaps.

The local Green Party opposed cuts to children’s centres. The protest in 2016 was organised by Worcestershire Mums’ Network, attended by Green Party candidate Louis Stephen, and was supported in the vote by county councillors Matthew Jenkins and John Raine. 40

Children’s centres can offer a lifeline to parents, and are a vital resource for mothers, as workers can offer support with many issues such as breastfeeding, as well as identifying health issues such as post-natal depression and post-partum psychosis 41

The Green Party will properly fund maternity services, and work to normalise breastfeeding, including improving education in schools, public awareness campaigns, and reassurances given by breastfeeding counsellors regarding the legitimacy of public breastfeeding 42.

Green MP Caroline Lucas has consistently voted in favour of women’s reproductive rights.

As Green MP Caroline Lucas said, “In the male-dominated fields of politics and science, Petra Kelly and Rachel Carson influenced – even shifted – entrenched patterns of thought. They didn’t ‘step outside the box’: they re-formed it from within”43.

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?

Sexism affects people of all genders throughout their lives, which is why the Green Party would seek to tackle this early on in schools. In our 2017 Women’s Manifesto, we pledged to: 

  • Promote discussion of the gendered and racial stereotypes employed in the media and wider society, to allow children to better understand society and themselves.  
  • Address gender stereotypes, homophobia and transphobia in society, initiating public education programs both in schools and wider society.  
  • Connect schools with community-led education initiatives to tackle the causes of prejudice and to increase awareness of the value of diverse cultures and genders 44.

The Green Party has a proud history of holding the media to account for sexism. 

Green MP Caroline Lucas has campaigned for an end to sexism in the media for years.  

“From the Sun’s regressive Page 3, the Daily Mail’s dissection of women and girls into ‘curves’ and ‘pins’, or rape and abuse cases being reported next to pictures of half-naked women, our media routinely sends out damaging messages about the place of women and girls in society. 

“With violence against women taking place on such an alarming scale, the Government and the industry must now take action to challenge the cavalier attitudes within the media industry which often lead to the trivialisation of sexual violence and abuse. 

“This should involve the restriction of the sexually explicit and objectifying images which have become unacceptably commonplace in our newspapers and magazines, as well as specialist training for journalists on the reporting of violence against women and girls. 

“Given the scale of the problem, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee should also carry out a full inquiry into sexism across the media.”45

In 2013, Caroline Lucas debated former Sun and News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis on the BBC’s Daily Politics, speaking against the, “daily drip drip objectification of women”, and said it was not appropriate for children to see the topless pictures. 46

In a House of Commons debate on sexism in the media, Caroline Lucas was told to cover up a T-shirt displaying the slogan “No More Page Three” in large lettering during a Commons debate.  

She defended her support for the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign by saying, “It does strike me as a certain irony that this T-shirt is regarded as an inappropriate thing to be wearing in this House, whereas apparently it is appropriate for this kind of newspaper to be available to buy in eight different outlets on the Palace of Westminster estate.”  4748

Amelia Womack, Green Party deputy leader, submitted a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation over the Daily Mail’s ‘Legs-it’ headline.  49

She accused the newspaper of breaching the Editors’ Code of Practice by discriminating against Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May because of their gender, stating:  

“Female leaders deserve to be treated with respect, not contempt, and I call on the editor of the Daily Mail to apologise to the Prime Minister and First Minister, and to all of the young women aspiring to be politicians who want to be recognised for their knowledge and achievements, not the shimmer of their legs.”  50

The Green Party will continue to fight sexism in the media, and to promote equal and fair representation of women. 

  1. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/a- green-economy- for-everyone.html
  2. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/our- nhs-and- public-services.html
  3. http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/14737808.Protest_planned_at_County_Hall_over_children___s_centres_____as_Labour_compares_cuts_to_The_ARCHERS/
  4. http://www.redditchadvertiser.co.uk/news/14747881.Bid_to_block_children_s_centre_cuts_voted_out_in_heated_council_meeting/
  5. https://twitter.com/NeilGreenMidWor/status/781861539338915843
  6. https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/sw.html
  7. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/membership- of-the- eu.html
  8. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/a- citizens-democracy.html
  9. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/a- safer-world.html
  10. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/membership- of-the- eu.html
  11. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/a- green-economy- for-everyone.html
  12. https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/sw.html
  13. https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmhaff/201/20106.htm#a10
  14. https://www.carolinelucas.com/latest/prevent-and- prosecute
  15. https://www.carolinelucas.com//caroline/parliament/letter/letter-to- rt-hon- theresa-may- mp-fgm
  16. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/a- safer-world.html
  17. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2017/05/13/green-party- pledges-to- end-immigration- detention-at-womens-manifesto- launch-at- yarls-wood/
  18. https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mg.html
  19. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/05/amnesty-international-publishes-policy-and-research-on-protection-of-sex-workers-rights/
  20. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/a-green-economy-for-everyone.html
  21. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/our-nhs-and-public-services.html
  22. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/education-for-all.html
  23. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/a-green-economy-for-everyone
  24. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/
  25. https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/cj.html. See paragraphs CJ352-CJ359.
  26. https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/cj.html See paragraph CJ350
  27. https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ed.html See para ED041
  28. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-guarantee/a-citizens-democracy.html
  29. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/saadia-zahidi/what-makes-the-nordic-cou_b_4159555.html
  30. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2016/09/14/green-equalities-spokesperson-calls-for-science-museum-to-remove-sexist-brain-exhibit/
  31. https://greenpartywomen.org.uk/assets/files/gpwomen-files/Women’s%20Manifesto%20online%20(2).pdf
  32. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/green-party-brexit-second-referendum-caroline-lucas-final-deal-a7712881.html
  33. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/green-party-brexit-second-referendum-caroline-lucas-final-deal-a7712881.html
  34. https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/st.html
  35. https://www.theguardian.com/science/political-science/2015/apr/10/what-are-parties-saying-about-science-policy-ahead-of-the-election
  36. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/caroline-lucas-to-present-pshe-bill-to-parliament.html
  37. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-39943496
  38. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2017/05/10/green-party-pledges-equal-treatment-for-physical-and-mental-health/
  39. http://www.louisstephen.co.uk/2010/10/a-green-guide-to-the-cuts/
  40. http://www.redditchadvertiser.co.uk/news/14747881.Bid_to_block_children_s_centre_cuts_voted_out_in_heated_council_meeting/
  41. http://www.barnardos.org.uk/15733_what_are_children_s_centres_for_report_v2_hr.pdf
  42. https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24910/caroline_lucas/brighton%2C_pavilion/votes
  43. https://www.zedbooks.net/blog/posts/women-will-save-planet-caroline-lucas-green/
  44. https://greenpartywomen.org.uk/assets/files/gpwomen-files/Women’s%20Manifesto%20online%20(2).pdf
  45. https://www.carolinelucas.com/latest/stop-the-rot-of-media-sexism-to-tackle-violence-against-women-and-girls-ministers-told
  46. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-23306155/page-three-and-sexism-caroline-lucas-and-neil-wallis
  47. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22873790
  48. https://nomorepage3.wordpress.com/
  49. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39416554
  50. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2017/03/28/green-party-files-complaint-over-daily-mail%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98legs-it%E2%80%99-headline/
  51. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-39943496
  52. http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/green-party-promise-end-period-63547
  53. https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ed.html
  54. http://greenpartywomen.org.uk/news/greens-call-for-show-of-strength-from-mps-to-oppose-nadine-dorries-victorian-sex-education-bill.html
  55. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/caroline-lucas-to-present-pshe-bill-to-parliament.html
  56. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/feb/10/green-party-education-policies-general-election