Today we celebrate Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement of a raft of policies to achieve gender equality
“The Women’s Equality Party said it would change British politics for women everywhere,” said Party Leader Sophie Walker. “Today we have seen how powerful an idea that is, with our policies on ending the gender pay gap, investing in affordable childcare and tackling violence against women and girls being adopted by Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn.”
In his first leadership contest speech, Corbyn announced a number of commitments to women’s equality for the first time. “It is about time that the Labour leadership showed its commitment to equality for all, including women, by setting out concrete plans for change,” said Walker. “Last week, we challenged both Corbyn and his leadership opponent Owen Smith to commit to introducing affordable childcare for all parents. We are delighted that Corbyn has accepted our challenge, and included the extension of free hours towards universal childcare in his speech. Now we want to see a costed plan for making affordable childcare a reality, rather than just a manifesto promise.”
The Women’s Equality Party has a fully costed plan for introducing affordable childcare for all children from the end of parental leave at 9 months until school age. The first 15 hours a week – where the educational benefits of childcare are clearest – will be paid for by the Government, funded by the introduction of a single rate of pension tax relief. Any remaining childcare requirements would be payable at £1 an hour by parents.
“We are looking forward to seeing much more detail behind the top line promises set out today by Jeremy Corbyn. For example, there are important questions around how he will guarantee market rates for providers and capital investment for premises” Walker continued. “A commitment to gender equality should underpin the work of the Labour Party, and if Corbyn is serious about making it a priority he must now show exactly how he will take his plans forward.”
The Women’s Equality Party have also challenged Theresa May to act on six goals that would show her commitment to gender equality, with their #100daysofMay campaign. “We are pleased that Jeremy Corbyn has committed to two of the goals we set the new Prime Minister: introducing compulsory SRE in schools, and establishing new funding arrangements to ensure domestic violence refuges are properly supported as well as ensuring the criminal justice system treats women with sensitivity and respect,” said Walker. “We are also encouraged by his promise of introducing mandatory pay audits as a move towards ending the gender pay gap.”
However, Walker cautioned that Corbyn’s five gender equality commitments needed detailed and costed plans for delivery, citing the promise of a ’criminal justice system that treats women with sensitivity and respect’ as far too vague. “We want specific guarantees, for example that survivors of domestic violence will not have to face their abuser in court, as well as timelines for implementing these changes,” she said. “Corbyn’s five commitments are a win for our Party - we said we would push women’s equality higher up the political agenda by threatening the votes of mainstream parties, and in this we have succeeded. Now it is up to Jeremy Corbyn, and Owen Smith, to show that they can take the Labour Party forward on gender equality by delivering on these promises.”
Published August 04, 2016