Jeremy Corbyn’s closing speech to Labour Party Conference fails to mention investment in care.
“Jeremy Corbyn opened this conference with a claim that Labour was the party of women’s equality. He closed it with a speech that failed entirely to mention childcare or social care. It’s mind-boggling,” said Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party.
“Corbyn said he would close the pay gap. But the gaps in his speech today demonstrated that he doesn’t appreciate the magnitude of the structural inequalities between men and women in our economy and society that keep that pay gap wedged so wide open.”
“WE formed to design policies for women that make the country better for everyone. WE understand that free childcare - truly universal and available to all - would revolutionise women’s lives, drive real economic growth, close the pay gap and drive UK productivity. At a time when we are looking at an uncertain Brexit future this kind of innovative investment is needed more than ever.
“Corbyn’s party has a legacy of achievement on women’s rights and includes some great women and allies of women, but it also has a history of disappointing women and shortchanging everyone as a result. Until Labour can see that being female is the single biggest predictor of economic status, intersecting with other factors such as class, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, age and disability to create double and triple disadvantage, until it invests equally in affordable childcare and a social care system that works, it will never free women to make equal choices to men and it can never be the party of the many, not the few,” Walker added.
The Women’s Equality Party shares Labour’s analysis that the wealth gap in the UK is unacceptable and unsustainable, but it also understands that gap is gendered and can only be fixed by gender-aware, innovative, forward-looking economics. Corbyn’s focus on industrial strategy and renationalisation as key domestic policies showed that he is still stuck in a 1970s vision that sees traditionally male areas of work as the priorities for investment, Walker added.
“Time and time again male politicians in this country stand up with ideas for economic growth that are based on funding physical infrastructure. Time and time again they ignore the key investment in social infrastructure that is needed to underpin economic growth and equality,” she said.
“That’s why I am proud to lead the Women’s Equality Party - the only party that sees and hears women in this country and reflects their experiences in our policy-making to the benefit of all.”