The Women’s Equality Party celebrates the first results of the What Women Want 2.0 Campaign, which repeats a social survey from 1996 by asking women a simple question: ’What do you want?’ The interim report clearly demonstrates that progress made on women’s equality in the UK has stalled: this is not acceptable.
Women want choices on how to balance their work and family lives and they are calling out for investment in public services and responsive public policies. They want mothering and caring to be valued in our society, they are concerned about their sexual rights and bodily autonomy and are tired of limiting stereotypes.
WE are fully committed to amplifying women’s voices and ensuring that the results of the campaign are translated into tangible policies and decisions. WE will not allow another twenty years of stagnation.
Based on the results of the campaign WE reiterate our commitment to:
- affordable childcare that enables women and working families to achieve the work/life balance they need. Too many women still have to choose between career progression and family life, which poses a threat to women’s financial independence;
- valuing care, including by ending the use of the stigmatising term “economically inactive” for those working at home and ensuring all carers can accrue National Insurance credits;
- compulsory sex and relationships education in schools to work towards a culture within classrooms and on campuses that enshrines gender parity and women’s bodily autonomy, helping young people build healthy relationships and understand consent;
- resolving the pension crisis resulting from the 2011 Pension Act which has disproportionately affected working women born in the 1950s;
- closing the gender pay gap which affects women across the United Kingdom and which can be magnified based on region, socio-economic status, ethnicity, age and disability;
- creating a level playing field in business and politics; and
- ending all forms of violence against women and girls.
What Women Want 2016 also highlighted concerns seen less in 1996. The findings demonstrated women’s concerns with the inclusivity of the education system, both in terms of accessibility and curriculum. Based on that, WE call for:
- a more inclusive education system and higher education that is accessible to all;
- curriculum that reflects the diversity of society and education that builds tolerance, creates opportunities and brings an end to discrimination; and
- the implementation of anti-racist, anti-homophobic and anti-sexist education.
WE call on the UK government and all political parties across the UK – as well as businesses, professional organisations, unions and educational institutions – to work together to achieve these objectives. Their prevalence in the findings of What Women Want 2016 demonstrate their continued importance to women in the UK, which should be clearly reflected in all national and local decision-making.