SNP plans are positive for Scotland but Scottish women need more
Today, the Women’s Equality Party acknowledged the progressive plans set out by Nicola Sturgeon in her statement to the Scottish Parliament, taking Scotland forward on caregiving, youth apprenticeships and child poverty. However, party leader Sophie Walker said the Scottish Government’s plans fell short on childcare provision and Relationship, Sexual Health and Parenthood Education (RSHPE) in schools.
“WE are pleased with today’s commitments to introduce baby boxes for all new parents next year, as well as a new maternity and early years allowance that will help tackle child poverty,” said Walker. “However, the Women’s Equality Party will continue to push forward our plans for free universal childcare from the end of paid parental leave at nine months – this goes much further than the Scottish Government’s plans to expand early years education to 30 hours a week from three years old.”
Walker also welcomes the Scottish Government’s Fair Work Convention, as 'an opportunity for Scotland to lead the way on the working standards by expanding opportunities for flexible working'. She was however disappointed that no progress had been made on the introduction of mandatory RSHPE in all schools. “RSHPE is a critical tool in empowering girls, and teaching all young people about respect and consent. It is a cornerstone of our policies on equal education as well as ending violence against women and girls.”
She welcomed plans to hold a major summit on education and attainment. “WE will be holding the Scottish Government to account on creating an education system that breaks down gendered stereotypes, helping more girls into technical careers and more boys into caring roles. WE also want to ensure the promised increase in youth apprenticeships will widen access to STEM careers for girls.”
Walker, who has campaigned on mental health issues for many years, praised plans to create a dedicated Mental Health Minister. “This is a great step forward,” she said, “as are plans to increase the carer’s allowance and improve housing support for young and disabled people.”
“WE now call on the Scottish Government to be robust in their planned legislation on domestic abuse. The Women’s Equality Party has a clear set of policies to tackle violence against women and girls, including free legal aid for victims of domestic abuse, compulsory training for police officers dealing with domestic abuse cases, dedicated housing for women and children fleeing abuse and sustainable funding for violence against women services that are locally operated and for and led by women. WE look forward to seeing the Scottish Government incorporating all these elements into their legislation later this year.”
Published May 26, 2016