The Women’s Equality Party is seriously concerned by the gender pay gap and the vulnerable position of women in the workforce. The Party expresses concerns over the vulnerability of women, especially women from the most socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, to chronic poverty. The gender pay gap for full time work currently stands at 13.9% (Fawcett Society). 38% of women in EU member states are considered ‘economically inactive’ because caring responsibilities keep them from paid employment, while 80% of women do substantial amounts of unpaid housework on a daily basis, compared with 45% of men. Women continue to be disproportionately affected by low wages and insecure employment conditions, particularly in part-time work. This situation is exacerbated by cuts to benefits and public spending, rising childcare costs, and the continued persistence of gender stereotypes.
WE call upon all political parties and the government to take the following urgent actions:
- Commission a public education campaign to raise awareness of the burden of unpaid care work placed on women, and encourage men to share the load;
- Incentivise businesses to publish data on the gender pay gap within their organisation by introducing financial penalties for failure to comply and, further, introduce a standardised method of calculating the gender pay gap within an organisation;
- Fund schools to provide free adult learning and employability skills classes for low-income women living in the local area;
- Introduce a compulsory element of gender equality education into the curriculum for every state-maintained school, and allocate funds that schools can access to run education programmes to engage children in learning about gender equality – this will incentivise those schools that do not have to comply with the National Curriculum;
Incentivise companies to ensure their boards and executive teams have a target of 50% representation between men and women.