2018 Motions - Women's Equality

2018 Motions

2018 Motions

A motion is a proposal for discussion at party conference. Motions that are adopted (voted for by party members at the conference) become party resolutions. The deadline for motion proposals has now passed. 

Members are now invited to submit any amendments to the motions outlined below. An amendment changes part of the wording of a motion to introduce a new idea or improve an existing one, but cannot change the intent of the motion. If an amendment is passed by conference, the amended motion is the version that will then be debated. Find out more about the full process

If you would like to submit an amendment to a motion, you should:

✔ read the amendment guidelines in the official motions guidelines,

✔ notify central office of your intention to submit an amendment, 

✔ gather support of your branch OR if you'd like to submit an amendment as an individual, find the support of four other members to back your amendment,

✔ submit your amendments form. Ensure you download the full motion below so you can specify which lines you would like to amend. You can find a sample amendments form here

Deadline for receipt of amendments to motions 9th August  - THIS DEADLINE HAS NOW PASSED

 

2018 MOTIONS 

 

Motion for Conference to approve the appointment of five Steering Committee members, and the reappointment of two members of the Appeals Body

Proposed by: The Steering Committee 

WE’s Steering Committee recommends the appointment to the Steering Committee of the following five members:

  • Amika George
  • Shola Mos-Shogbamimu
  • Yvonne Thompson (for a second term)
  • Athena Stevens and
  • Iman Achera

for a term of office of three years or until the next Party Conference following, or shortly before, the expiry of that three-year term, unless otherwise decided in accordance with Articles 7.5.7(vi) and 7.5.9. of the WE Constitution.

The Steering Committee also recommends the reappointment of:

  • Judy Hargadon (Chair) and
  • Liz Daughters (Deputy Chair)

to the Appeals Body for a standard term of five years.

Read the Motion in full >>

 

Branch Representation in Decision Making

Proposed by: Camden Women’s Equality Party and Lambeth Women’s Equality Party

The original constitution was written when the local branches were in their infancy. They are now well established, so now is the right time to move towards greater membership representation by allowing local branches to elect their hub co-ordinators and hub data managers.

We propose that the structure of WEP is revised by electing hub co-ordinators and data managers.

We propose the following method to elect the hub co-ordinator and hub data manager:

  • Each branch elects a branch representative,
  • This branch rep attends their hub,
  • Each hub then elects the hub co-ordinator and hub data manager,
  • In the event of a tied vote, both candidates will be offered a job share of the role.

The views of the membership will thus be represented on issues of the day, decisions about what to back and how WEP monies are spent. Branches can decide, in collaboration with the steering committee, the delineation of the hubs. All branch representatives, hub co-ordinators and hub data managers can be job shares.

We therefore recommend the following changes to the constitution:

7.7.3 Add "in collaboration with local branches".

7.7.4 Remove paragraph and replace with "Each hub shall be overseen by a hub committee consisting of one representative from each branch within that hub, elected by the membership of that branch. Each hub committee shall elect their hub co-ordinator and hub data manager. All representative, hub co-ordinator and hub data manager posts shall be available for job share."

Read the Motion in full >> 

 

Women's Equality Party policy on Brexit

Proposed by: WE Steering Committee

The Women's Equality Party’s second Conference:

  • Regrets that women's voices were unheard during the referendum campaign in 2016.
  • Notes the increasingly hostile environment to minorities, EU and foreign citizens since the referendum.
  • Is alarmed by the ways in which Brexit threatens economic damage that will be felt disproportionately by women and women’s services.
  • Reaffirms its support for the protections provided by the EU for women.
  • Notes that the EU requires significant reform including on equality for women.
  • Deplores the compromises on equal rights agreed by HM Government in return for the support of the Democratic Unionist Party to secure Brexit.

The existing policy of the Women's Equality Party is to campaign for the best outcome for women, whether or not Brexit proceeds. This conference reaffirms that policy but also recognises that the current chaotic rush to Brexit offers no reassurances of better outcomes for women and many points of heightened risk.

We therefore resolve to:

Call for any deal with the European Union—or absent any deal, any unilateral Brexit plan—to be subject to a meaningful parliamentary assessment and vote or, failing guarantees of such a process, a People's Vote.

  1. Seek to include in the franchise for a People’s Vote all those aged sixteen or older permanently resident in the UK; all those registered to vote in UK Local or General Elections, and all British citizens resident in the EU but outside the UK.
  2. Work, if we remain in the EU, to ensure that the EU's future policies include systematic integration of equal opportunities for all women by altering decision-making rules and norms.

Read the Motion in full >>  

 

Appropriate and sensitive approach to cervical screening

Proposed by: WE Norfolk

Cervical screening in the UK does not currently differentiate in approach between women. Misinformation about the need for cervical screening for those not engaging in heterosexual penetrative sex has led to differential levels of access for this critical healthcare. The outcomes of this can be catastrophic. Health Professionals do not provide all the correct information to patients due to lack of training and support to provide that information correctly, and do not observe the appropriate sensitivities during procedures on women. Fundamentally, the rights of women are not being met.

The Women’s Equality Party calls on the Department of Health and Social Care and the relevant professional bodies to ensure:

  1. All Health Professionals are educated that cervical screening is needed by anyone with a cervix.
  2. Health Professionals do not assume an active sex life means penetrative sex. WE call on Health Professionals to always check with the patients first.
  3. After patient consultation on the preferred approach, consideration is given to what kind of examination is appropriate, e.g. size of speculum etc.
  4. Health Professionals are educated on the terminology used when referring to the patient, e.g. do not assume “Mrs”.

Read the Motion in full >> 

 

Writing off Historic Child Support Arrears

Proposed by: WE Bristol and WE Bath

The Women’s Equality Party notes that the Westminster Government proposes to write off Historic Child Support Arrears, in order to reduce the cost of maintaining their records. 

These arrears have accrued over decades, yet the Enforcement Powers that Parliament gave the Westminster Government over a decade ago have still not been commenced by Secondary Legislation. 

Existing Child Support Law prevents the debtee from enforcing the debt through the courts themselves.

The Women’s Equality Party calls upon the Westminster Government to:

  1. Pay all Historic Child Support Arrears to debtees directly and in full.
  2. Use their existing powers to enforce the debt and reimburse the Tax Payer.
  3. Where the debt is a result of a decision by the First Tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber), give debtees the option to enforce debts through the courts in future. 

Furthermore, WE call upon the Government to invest in Public Service Campaigns in order to change the prevailing culture of Child Support Avoidance.

Read the Motion in full >>

 

To create a WE working group on technology and innovation in support of our core objectives and for a truly transformational politics

Proposed by: The Steering Committee 

Data inequality impacts women and diminishes the chances of achieving equal representation. Yet new technologies also offer the opportunity for doing things differently and better.

This conference calls on the steering committee to create a technology and innovation working group to develop not only policy and strategy around the impact and potential of tech as it relates to our core objectives, but to explore ways of harnessing existing technologies and developing new apps and approaches for creating and modelling change within the party and beyond.

The steering committee should ensure a cross-disciplinary range of skills and perspectives by co-opting any policy or programming expertise necessary and inviting volunteers from the membership. The group should report on a quarterly basis to the steering committee.

Read the Motion in full >> 

 

Calling on the Government to give women equal access to sterilisation as a permanent form of contraception

Proposed by: WE Hove & Portslade

The Women’s Equality Party calls on the Government and the Department of Health to treat women’s choices in terms of permanent contraception through sterilisation on the same terms as they do men’s choices. Health professionals who have concerns around ‘sterilisation regret’, particularly in younger women or those without children, should be educated to understand that research on ‘regret’ among sterilised women is insufficient, and in some cases shows a higher incidence amongst men who have had vasectomies.

The attitude of the UK’s healthcare system towards female sterilisation is based on outdated ideas of women’s ‘biological imperative’ and the idea that, as they age, they will inevitably want children. This contradicts research showing that the number of women having children is reducing. Women who wish to remain childless are forced to take hormone-affecting medication, use intrusive barrier methods, abstain, or run the risk of unwanted pregnancy with the difficult decisions this entails. In contrast, men are able to obtain sterilisation younger and with less considerations around their number of offspring. This is partially because vasectomies are cheaper, are seen as ‘easier’ procedures and are more easily reversible; however, this is because healthcare, still a male-dominated profession, has had a vested interest in men’s health. Women who seek sterilisation have to ‘prove’ their need by going through unsuitable treatments first and are denied agency by being forced to discuss their choice with their male partner. Men face no such requirement.

WE will highlight to Government the need for effective research into sterilisation regret and cheaper, simplified, easily reversible, permanent solutions for women. While this research is being undertaken, we will call on the Government to alter guidance on sterilisation criteria, to ensure both genders are given parity and decisions are made on capacity rather than expectations based upon a person’s gender.

Read the Motion in full >>

 

From STEM to STEAM

Proposed by: Rebecca Manson-Jones

WE’s equal education policy on page 17 states:

“All teenagers should study either English or one STEM subject up to the age of 18 through GCSEs, A-levels or other qualifications.”

We propose:

1) to change this wording to:

“All teenagers should study a balanced STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering Arts & Design and Maths) curriculum to age of 16 through GCSEs and other UK qualifications.”

and to add:

“The education system privileges and rewards subjects where women and girls are under-represented. The English government’s emphasis on STEM puts girls into a deficit situation and further devalues in the national narrative the skills and disciplines in which they often excel.

  • WE will support and promote all young people in studying sciences and technology and pursuing careers in these areas, and encourage everyone to understand arts, humanities and social sciences not as soft options but as rigorous, challenging and life-enhancing qualifications.
  • WE will work with schools and training institutions to address their gender bias in subject pathway.
  • WE will require schools to engage with parents about the life chances and breadth of careers open to young people in the 21st century when they study a balanced curriculum.”

2) To ensure that education becomes equal, we propose this addition to the Equal Education policy:

“The English Government has introduced the so-called E-Bacc which restricts subject choices and student pathways, and encourages prioritisation of resources and teaching posts within state schools to STEM subjects, creating inequality of life chances.

WE call on:

  • the English Government to scrap the E-Bacc* and to introduce a STEAM curriculum in secondary schools to the age of 16.
  • the Assemblies of Northern Ireland and Wales, and Scotland’s Parliament to formalise a STEAM curriculum to the age of 16.”

* Education is devolved in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland

Read the Motion in full >>

 

Extending and enforcing gender pay gap reporting

Proposed by: WE Policy Committee

The Women’s Equality Party (WE) calls on the government to:

  • extend the gender pay gap reporting requirement in England, Wales and Scotland to

smaller businesses, organisations and public bodies of 20 employees or more, in line with Scotland’s Public Sector Equality Duty which already states that public authorities with 20 or more employees must publish their gender pay gap data;

and reaffirms its call on the government to:

  • require gender pay gap reporting to be broken down by age, employment status, ethnicity, race, disability, industry and working hours, as well as gathering data on staff retention at all stages, including during and after parental leave;
  • direct HM Revenue and Customs to gather data through PAYE and Self-Assessment forms on gender, age, race, ethnicity, disability status, industry and working hours. This data should be anonymised and published in an open data format to allow researchers to develop a comprehensive understanding of disparity in pay.

WE call on all companies reporting a pay gap of 5% or more to:

  • publish further data on their pay gap, such as gender distribution by grade/equal work groups, male and female staff by age and length of service, and part-time staff by gender by grade, as well as their human resources (HR) policies, including their parental leave policy;
  • publish an action plan with clear timescales, outlining how the gap will be addressed. This mandatory plan would be expected to include changes to policies and practices that contribute to the pay gap.

WE will review if, after three years of reporting, pay gap figures are not reducing, and assess whether enforcement by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is sufficient and consider whether this responsibility should be moved to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Read the Motion in full >>

 

A Feminist Foreign Policy

Proposed by: Sophie Walker

The Women’s Equality Party Conference notes:

With deep concern, the rising tide of nationalism that is fuelling isolationism, protectionism and militarism across the world.

The Women’s Equality Party Conference believes:

Unchecked, these trends will lead to even greater gender inequality and human rights abuses and make violent confrontations within and between states more likely.

The Women’s Equality Party Conference calls for:

  1. Government to create a Department for Peace and Freedom that would govern the work of the Foreign Office, Department of International Trade and the Home Office and promote:

a) Women’s equality at home and abroad as a universal aim and to thus overturn policies based on false distinctions, patriarchy and colonial oppression;

b) An inclusive, anti-discriminatory approach to future foreign policymaking so that, for example, post-Brexit trade and immigration policy is created with an understanding of how it will impact women;

c) An anti-militarist approach committed to all alternative means of dispute resolution, in particular supporting women’s networks dedicated to conflict prevention and resolution;

d) Gender budgeting and the allocation of resources to deliver on the gender equality promise of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030;

2. The Women’s Equality Party Policy Committee to establish a working group to develop policy motions to be voted on by members via electronic decision-making, as provided for in article 4.11.1 of the WE constitution

Read the Motion in full >> 

 

Ensuring that Settled Status will take into account women’s, children’s and vulnerable groups’ needs

Proposed by: WE Islington Branch

The Women’s Equality Party notes that the publication on 21st June 2018 of the Statement of Intent of the EU Settlement Scheme has missed the target of securing the rights of all EU citizens after the UK leaves the European Union.

The Statement of Intent published by the Government doesn’t answer the questions raised by EU citizens regarding vulnerable citizens, legal aid, timeline for applying, or rights to appeal.

This risks creating two groups of EU citizens: one able to provide all the right documentation and another one struggling to prove their rights to remain, which would have a disproportionate impact on women.

The Women’s Equality Party calls upon the UK Government to:

  1. Secure the rights of EU citizens through a separate protocol attached to the Withdrawal Agreement. This would prevent the problems of immigration rules written in secondary legislation which is prone to frequent changes which rarely attract parliamentary scrutiny and  demand an open and transparent debate on the future of our EU citizens in our country
  2. Secure the rights of at risk and vulnerable citizens by providing a clear and definite answer for all EU citizens who will not be able to provide evidential documentation to prove their 5 years of continuous presence in the country (for instance women victims of human trafficking or domestic abuse, EU children in care or whose parents neglect or are unaware of their own immigration status, carers, citizens with disabilities, citizens with limited capacity, older people living in care, prisoners etc.) and protect the status of the “Zambrano Carer” [rights of a non-EU citizen primary carer of an EU citizen].
  3. To publish any risk assessment that it has carried out with regards to the settlement scheme in terms of delivery and of people not being documented in time or at all.

Read the Motion in full >>

 

Motion to Allow Members and Branches Sufficient Time to Submit Motions to Conference

Proposed by: WE Edinburgh/Lothian Branch and WE Stirling Branch

The Policy of the Women’s Equality Party is ultimately created by the Party’s Members, acting through the Party Conference.

To maximise the potential for Member input to motions at Conference the Women’s Equality Party will amend its Constitution as follows:

1) Insert into the Constitution at the end of the existing subsection 4.8.4 the words ‘The deadline for submission of motions to Party Conference shall be not less than 30 days after the announcement to Members of that deadline; this shall not apply to Special Conferences or to Emergency motions.’

2) Remove the words ‘conference delegates’ in line 3 of the existing subsection 4.8.4 and replace them with the words ‘Party Members’.

Read the Motion in full >>

 

Universal free childcare

Proposed by: WE Policy Committee

That conference ratifies the universal childcare policy set out in the WE 2017 manifesto.

WE will offer free childcare all across the UK from the end of paid parental leave at nine months.

Childcare will be centrally funded but where decision-making is in the hands of devolved governments or local authorities, funds will depend on the provision meeting the criteria of being universal and not for profit.

Parents who work non-traditional hours and need more flexible childcare will have the option of a voucher alternative.

Read the Motion in full >> 

 

Abolish the single payment system of Universal Credit

Proposed by: WE York Branch

WE call upon the Government to abolish the automatic single payment system of Universal Credit (UC) in England and Wales which is increasing women’s vulnerability to financial abuse.

UC replaces Job Seekers Allowance, Income Based Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit with a single payment. Where a couple are in receipt of such benefits they are required to nominate a single bank account for the payment to be made into.

On 20 June 2018 women’s groups including the Women’s Budget Group, Surviving Economic  Abuse and the End Violence Against Women Coalition published a report “Universal Credit and Financial Abuse: Exploring the links” raising concerns that the single payment system risks facilitating financial abuse with the loss of clearly labelled child payments which are a lifeline for many women in abusive relationships. 

Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the Women’s Budget Group, said

“Combining payments [...] risks giving abusive men even more power and control over their partners. It may send more money than ever to wallet and not to purse, undermining women’s economic independence and their ability to leave abusive relationships”.

The Scottish Government has decided to allow for separate payments as a matter of course and WE call upon the Government of England and Wales to do the same AND:

1) Gather evidence on the nature and extent of applications for separate payments to date for  Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and UC;

2) During the remainder of the UC roll-out, test out different ways of making a separate payment to each member of a couple, as recommended by a Parliamentary Committee in 2015;

3) Keep each partner’s online UC account separate so that the accounts are only linked by the Department for Work and Pensions; 

4) Produce an updated equality impact assessment of the effects of UC.

Read the Motion in full >>

 

Gender recognition act

Proposed by: Amy Killen

The Women’s Equality Party recognises the damage done by socially constructed gender stereotypes and supports changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004. The Women’s Equality Party supports changes to the current process by which transgender people are able to receive legal recognition of their changed gender.

The Women’s Equality Party supports a process of legal recognition of changed gender which does not require medical reports nor two years’ worth of documentation but a process of self-determination of gender. The Women’s Equality Party supports legal recognition of non-binary people.

The Women’s Equality Party calls on the Governments and administrations of the UK to make the following changes to the current process as they revise the Gender Recognition Act 2004:

  • Change to the requirement to submit two supporting medical reports, one of a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and one detailing treatment received. Change to the requirement to submit documentation to prove the person has lived as their acquired gender for two years. Instead require a self-determination process to change gender and to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate and new birth certificate.
  • Remove the requirement of spousal consent to obtain legal recognition of changed gender for married people.
  • Allow people to change their gender to a third gender option as well as t