Forty-five years after the Equal Pay Act, for every hour they work, women still earn just 81p of every pound earned by men. There are many ways of measuring the pay gap – pay for each hour worked, pay for each worker, total pay for all women, and for all men – but however you measure it, the story is the same: women earn less per hour, less per job and less overall.
In total, women earn just 52% of what men do every year because not only do they earn less, they are more likely to sacrifice the opportunity to earn a wage for the sake of their family. The contribution of women to our economy and our society is undervalued, both in paid work and at home. The OECD has shown that if we unleashed the true potential of women the economy could grow by an extra 10% by 2030 - adding an extra £180 billion to growth.
WE will ensure all women who want to work can do so and are paid fairly for it. WE will work to end the bias in pay for occupations perceived as ‘male’ or ‘female’ that means caring work is paid less than manual labour. WE will be ruthless in the fight against direct discrimination that sees women pushed out of work or held back because of their gender.
“I am backing the Women’s Equality party because I really do not want to die before closing the pay gap" ~ Emma Thompson, Actor.
WE stand for:
Transparency on gender pay
Regulations first proposed by Labour and enacted by the Conservatives are soon to come into force, requiring larger companies to publish data on their male and female employees’ pay. The details are yet to be finalised but WE believe a comprehensive approach is necessary. This should include extending these requirements to medium-sized businesses and utilising HMRC data to develop a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between gender, race, age, disability status and pay.
Zero tolerance for workplace discrimination
For a company to thrive, it needs happy staff: discrimination, sexism and intolerance undermine the working environment for everyone and hold businesses back. If we can stamp out workplace discrimination, the whole country will benefit. But this is not possible when those who find themselves victimised at work have no recourse to affordable justice; employment tribunal fees are now so high they are deterring people with legitimate claims and sending a message to employers that it is safe to discriminate. More claims should be settled through conciliation and mediation, and WE will strengthen and promote widely the role of ACAS.
Investing in childcare
The cost of childcare can be punishing, in particular for those on low incomes or wishing to undertake training or education. While many parents choose to spend time at home with young children, at least 600,000 stay-at-home parents would prefer to work if they could afford to do so. Evidence shows that a 10% increase in the proportion of mothers working could raise £1.5bn in increased tax revenue and reduced in-work benefits.
WE believe that childcare is a key area for government investment and have singled it out as one of just three areas where WE advocate significant additional expenditure, which WE will fully fund through our introduction of a single rate of tax relief on pension savings
Supporting savers and boosting women’s pensions
Women have historically suffered financially from our pension system, and are much more likely to live their retirement in poverty than men. On top of this, women have suffered as a result of swift changes to equalise retirement age; while WE support the principle that men and women should be entitled to their pension at the same age, many women did not have enough warning to plan for their retirement. WE will work with those worst affected to identify and campaign for a just and affordable solution.
Valuing experience: the workplace for older women
The pay gap widens for women after 50. There are many reasons for this: breaks in employment for children and other caring responsibilities, an increased chance of health problems or disability and the concentration of older women in low paid and part time work. Women over 50 are also vulnerable to “dual discrimination” – when women are penalised on the basis of both age and gender, rather than solely because they are women.