Saturday 10th November is Equal Pay Day, which marks the moment which women effectively stop being paid until the end of the year.
The gender pay gap in the UK currently stands at 17.9%.
We don’t think men's work should be valued more highly than women's - so why should we be working? We’re asking women across the UK to set their Out of Offices on Friday 9th November as a sign to the world that they won’t stand for this any longer.
In 2017, our Out of Office campaign reached over 1.2bn people, calling for real action on the gender pay gap. This year we want it to be even bigger. To take part, simply copy and paste the below into your Out of Office on Friday 9th November:
Subject line: Out of Office. For the rest of the year.
Not really. I’m just making a point.
Today is effectively the last day women in the UK are paid to work. Because of the gender pay gap the average woman is working for free until the end of the year. So, if women aren’t getting paid, why should they work?
The pay gap on average is 17.9% but for some women it’s even worse. If like me and the Women’s Equality Party, you think it’s not ok, you can help show your support by copying this message and switching on your Out Of Office too.
Follow the link below to see what you can do to help close the gap.
#OutOfOffice for #EqualPayDay @WEP_UK
Why does the pay gap exist?
The work women do, the industries they work in, and the caring responsibilities they generally shoulder are not valued by our society – not enough to pay them a fair wage. This is exactly what the Women’s Equality Party seeks to overturn.
We represent the women who are being paid unfairly and often not being paid at all – either for their domestic labour or care duties - or because they have been fired for getting pregnant.
Equal pay is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality and it creates the context for other inequalities, such as violence against women and girls and unequal access to health.
Though Equal Pay Day focuses on the full-time pay gap, WE always focus on the aggregate pay gap because it tells you more about the balance of power in our society.
The gap is even bigger for some women. For example, Black African women face a pay gap of 24%, while for Pakistani and Bangladeshi women it stands at 26.2%. Or women in their fifties, who face a pay gap of 26.6%. As for women with disabilities, it's impossible to know for sure as the data available is limited. What there is tends to compare disabled women with able bodied women, but does not scratch the surface of how this stacks up with able bodied men.
It’s time to change this. Set your out of office and make the world aware that this injustice has to end.
An NHS Midwife:
Laura Godfrey Isaacs: “As a midwife working in the NHS I will be Out of Office from November 10th in protest against unequal pay in all sectors, but particularly healthcare. Women make up over 77% of NHS staff, however 22% of men are doctors or dentists with only 5% women. A midwife earns only £19.21 per hour, which is 34% below the national average, however, we have one of the most responsible jobs in society looking after women and babies throughout the childbearing continuum. Midwifery is overwhelmingly a female profession, with only 0.3% male midwives, and alongside most of the caring professions our pay is low and our work undervalued.
A PHD Student at the University of Manchester:
Sarika Paul: "I work as a PhD Researcher at the University of Manchester. The pay gap across the institution is 17.1%. This means that for the duration of November and December, the women of Manchester University are effectively working for free - and this is before you begin to consider race or age or sexuality (or any other protected characteristic). The proportion of women entering post grad study remains largely gender balanced, though there are differences across subjects. This then means that there are systematic factors at play that result in the loss of women from high status academic roles, and the resulting pay gap seen across all staff members. It is crucial that both the university, and the academic world globally looks at ways of minimising these barriers to ensure that we don't lose talent along the "leaky pipeline" that so many treat as inevitable. This is why I am hanging up my labcoat for the rest of the year this Equal Pay Day.
*The Women’s Equality Party encourages anyone taking part in the campaign to discuss it with the management in their workplace. With the disadvantages the women face in the workplace already we don’t want to give any employers any excuses to isolate their women employees. Please use your discretion when taking part.
President Trump is on his way to London. Tomorrow WE will give him the welcome he deserves.
Since the Misogynist in Chief took office, he’s worked to dismantle women’s rights. Instead his hate and lies have galvanised and united women. In fact, after Trump was elected WE saw one of the biggest spikes in membership numbers in this Party's history and he continues to motivate new activists daily.
WE want to say thank you to the world's Number One Feminist Recruiter in style! Help us takeover #ThankYouTrump on twitter for the day with your thank you messages to the President.
Click on the card you want to send to Trump below and tweet him a message he won’t forget.
Every day, women are forced to travel immediately after taking abortion pills, meaning many experience symptoms whilst still on public transport. The 1967 Abortion Act states that women must be in a surgery or clinic to have an abortion - but this Act was based on the assumption that abortions meant a surgical procedure. This is no longer the case.
A woman who is having a miscarriage is permitted to take the pill in her own home, yet a woman seeking an abortion is not given the same choice. This double standard has no place in 2018. But this can change overnight. Health Minister Matt Hancock could follow the lead of Wales and Scotland and introduce home use in England.
Find out more about Claudia's story, and add your name in support of her open letter.
One year ago I took Misoprostol to terminate a pregnancy.
By law I had to take the pill at the hospital. I had no idea how quickly it would take effect. I was lucky I had enough money for a taxi - it was a 15 minute drive, but in those 15 minutes I turned pale green and could feel the process starting.
I was counting down the seconds until I arrived home. I collapsed almost as soon as I got inside and started vomiting and miscarrying on the bathroom floor. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we had been stuck in traffic for just two minutes longer. Or if, like many women, I couldn’t afford to take a taxi.
I should never have had to make this journey. I should have been at home, next to my bed and a bathroom, where my family and friends could support me. Misoprostol is regularly prescribed for safe home use when women are experiencing miscarriages, but I had to risk miscarrying in public because of outdated laws from the 1960s.
From now on, women in Wales will be allowed to safely use abortion pills in their own home. And while I am delighted that women in Wales will no longer face this ordeal, it is now all the more stark that - in defiance of WHO advice and the recommendation of all major medical professional bodies - women in England are still being forced to travel after taking abortion pills.
Allowing home use of Misoprostol for abortions would save the NHS money. It would relieve some of the strain on overstretched services. It would help women who live in poverty or are experiencing domestic violence to access abortions safely and it would save thousands of women like me from pain and distress.
You personally have the power to change this. Now both the Scottish and Welsh Government have allowed the safe home use of Misoprostol. Please listen to my experience, and that of so many women, and take this simple action so that other women in England do not face the same ordeal.
WE pick our battles based on how much they matter, not how easy they are to win.
About the campaign
WE are campaigning to make abortion free, safe and legal in EVERY part of the UK.
Currently women in England, Scotland and Wales wishing to have an abortion still have to prove their pregnancy involves a bigger risk to their physical or mental health than terminating it. They still have to ask for permission from two doctors to end their pregnancy. They still risk prosecution.
In Northern Ireland, basic reproductive rights are so restricted that abortions are almost impossible to access. Abortions are only legal where the life or long-term physical/mental health of the person is at serious risk. There are no exceptions for rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormalities, and illegal abortion carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Nowhere in the United Kingdom do women enjoy full reproductive rights. This has to change and we are ready to lead that change.
WE are campaigning for full decriminalisation of abortion. WE are demanding that abortion be moved out of criminal law and into healthcare.
At our 2018 conference we will be joining our voices with the Northern Irish women and calling for Westminster to make this change its priority.
The Campaign so far
WE marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act with a week of action. We called for Amber Rudd to change this outdated and patronising law.
During the first week, more than four thousand people signed a permission slip, 186,000 people connected with our campaign on Twitter, and we held a packed-out rally in London at which Sophie Walker joined a line up of inspiring activist speakers to reflect on the past, present and future of reproductive rights in the UK.
And on Friday 27th Hastings members delivered 406,108 permission slips to the Home Secretary’s office. They represent the number of times women in the UK have had to seek consent for an abortion in the past year alone.
WE successfully campaigned for the Home use of abortion pills
In August 2018 we celebrated huge win with activist and member Claudia Craig following the announcement by Matt Hancock, Minister for Health and Social Care, that women in England will be permitted to take the abortion pill at home.
The decision comes five months after we launched our #HomeUse campaign as part of our commitment to protecting women’s reproductive rights. The campaign highlighted the experiences of women like Claudia who had been forced to travel after taking abortion pills, by asking activists to share a film and sign Claudia’s open letter to the Minister for Health calling for urgent action on the issue.
Claudia’s letter was signed by thousands and reached more than two million on social media, condemning the distress and humiliation that she and other women experienced as a result of outdated legislation that insists they attend a hospital to take the pill - which can result in women beginning to miscarry on their journey home.
How you can get involved
1) Keep the pressure on Theresa May to ensure Northern Irish women's voices cannot be ignored
Tweet Theresa May to show that you believe abortion should be free, safe and legal in EVERY part of the UK. Northern Irish women's voices have been ignored for too long.
2) Meet with other activists to plan our next action
Our members have asked us to take immediate action to ensure the voices of Northern Irish women cannot be ignored in Westminster.
Over the coming weeks local members in England and Wales will be campaigning to highlight this injustice and call for change. Activists are gathering in meet-ups across England and Wales to plan our next action.
3) There's more to come
Stay in touch with us to find out more about our campaign as it unfolds. We will be in touch soon with the next exciting action. Together we can make this change happen.
If you'd like to know more, we've answered your frequently asked questions >>
In the wake of the BBC releasing its salaries, WE call on other broadcasters to do the sameRead more
Women's Day Off
In April 2016 Women’s Equality Party co-founder Catherine Mayer returned from a fact-finding trip to Iceland obsessed with an idea. WE should organise a Women’s Day Off. Head of Policy Halla Gunnarsdottir enthusiastically agreed.
The original Women’s Day Off was held in Halla’s home country, Iceland, in 1975. Ninety percent of the female population took the day off from paid and unpaid work in order to demonstrate the value of their labour. There was an immediate effect and a longer-term benefit: sexist attitudes became unacceptable overnight. Understanding that gender equality is also better for them, men began pushing for change too.
WE are orgainsing the Women’s Day Off in 2018 to coincide with the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, the Act that gave some women in the UK the vote.
That date was also chosen to reflect the intricate planning needed for a Day Off on the scale of Iceland’s. WE want all women who wish to do so to be able to participate. WE know many women have caring duties or are in low-paid jobs where they will not be easily permitted time off or may not be paid if they take it. The NHS would collapse without female staff. Iceland’s Day Off worked because employers and unions supported it.
In a world galvanised by recent events into a new spirit of activism, WE were part of the team behind the Women’s March on London on 21 January, when over 100,000 women, men and children took to the streets in a show of global solidarity against racism, sexism and misogyny.
WE welcome the call by the organisers of the Women’s March in the US for “A Day Without Women” on March 8 of this year. WE will march together on International Women’s Day as we march every day to make gender equality a reality.
WE look forward to working with the Women’s Marches and with anyone who wants to get involved for the 2018 Day Off. In 1975 a single day kick-started the process that made Iceland the world’s most gender equal country. Let’s build a Day Off in 2018 that catapults England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to the top of the gender equality tables.
With your help, this is going to be huge. And WE will help you to take action: keep an eye out for details of our activist training programme launching very soon.
Women’s Equality amendment has widest cross-party support in Article 50 debate
This week marked a step change in support for gender equality in Parliament, as an amendment WE tabled to Theresa May’s Article 50 legislation together with the Green Party received the widest cross-party support of any amendment to the government bill. The amendment, that seeks protections for women’s employment rights and ensures Parliament’s future sovereignty over equality legislation currently enacted through regulatory framework that falls outside its influence, received unprecedented cross-party support and was signed immediately by MPs from Labour, the SNP, Liberal Democrats, the SDLP and Plaid Cymru.
“In a week in which we’ve seen a Trump administration take executive action to roll back fundamental rights, it’s more important than ever to ensure we are protected against a bonfire of rights at home. Women have had to rely on the EU regulatory framework and the European Court of Justice to safeguard equal rights at work. Hard Brexit could mean the rolling back of those hard-won rights unless urgent action is taken to ensure responsibility remains in the hands of our Parliament to lead the way towards a more equal Britain” said Sophie Walker.
Notification of withdrawal from the EU kick starts a process that results in regulations, or so-called secondary law, being demoted to executive control, including employment and equality legislation. This means that changes to women’s rights, such as protections for pregnant workers, can be achieved without parliamentary scrutiny and oversight.
“We are talking about protecting rights for part-time workers and breastfeeding mothers. We need to safeguard the rights for parents to return to work after parental leave and to make sure pregnant women who work night shifts are not put at risk. If we are leaving the EU then it is only right that our parliament is afforded oversight of this vital legislation,” Walker said.
“The European Court of Justice has repeatedly had to challenge the decisions of our legislators, such as when UK courts ruled that pregnancy discrimination was not sex discrimination. It is essential that these decisions are transparent, and that our politicians are accountable to the people should they attempt to roll back women’s hard won rights.”
Caroline Lucas MP said:
“I’m pleased to have worked with the Women’s Equality Party on this amendment guaranteeing Parliamentary sovereignty over equality rights that are currently protected through secondary legislation. I urge MPs to add their names to this crucial amendment to ensure that the Brexit process doesn’t mean that the clock is turned back on gender equality.”
Dr Charlotte O’Brien, Senior Lecturer at York University said:
“Vital employment and equality rights are contained in secondary provisions. That means that two years from notification the executive could have a bonfire of rights even without a Great Repeal Bill, unless we replace the oversight of the EU legislature with that of Parliament.“
Sophie Walker added that the Women’s Equality Party would continue working with other political parties to ensure Brexit does not turn back the clock on gender equality. “We will insist that new laws and new trade deals are subject to intense scrutiny so that they serve to build up a more gender equal UK, rather than increasing inequalities.”
WE have been pushing for the Istanbul Convention to be ratified by Parliament since our party began. The time has come to double our efforts as we ask MPs to stand up for women’s rights.
The Third Reading will take place in the House of Commons on Friday 24 February 2017. Let's make sure the bill is passed - a major step towards ratfying the Convention.
In December, our members and supporters lobbied their MPs and 135 showed up and voted in favour of the most significant legal frameworks for tackling violence against women and girls.
Now for one final push!
We need 100 MPs to turn up to move the bill to next stage.
This legislation is needed because on average two women in England and Wales are killed every week by a current or former male partner, and at least one in five women have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.
The UK government signed a commitment to seeing through the Convention five years ago, but the government has failed to honour its promise. In that time, 616 women have lost their lives to gender-based violence.
WE need your support - act before 24 February
Time for a #TripleWhammy
“The UK’s 19 per cent pay gap is so entrenched because it’s matched by a productivity gap of 20 percent compared to other G7 countries, and the most expensive childcare in the Western world,” said Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party.
“For women to have equal pay in Britain we need to widen the conversation. This isn’t just about discrimination via your sexist boss; this is about discrimination via an education system that still encourages boys into highly-paid STEM careers and girls into clerical or caring roles with lower economic output, and via a society that pushes women out of the workplace when they become carers.”
“That can’t be fixed by limited legislation on equal pay. What we need is a triple whammy: a new, three-part approach to tackle a three-part problem and knock inequality out of the park.”
Our #TripleWhammy approach includes:
Deal with workplace discrimination by insisting companies publish pay data that’s broken down by gender, ethnicity and disability as well as by pay, employment status and working hours and includes retention rates during and after parental leave.
Remodel our education system so that girls get an equal education too. All schools conduct a gender audit of their curriculum to ensure they are promoting role models that challenge gender stereotypes and offering quality, independent careers guidance that encourages girls to do science and boys to think creatively.
Invest in childcare. By moving to a single rate of pension tax relief at 25 percent WE can fund a £6.5 billion investment in childcare that would take average weekly costs down from £115 to £10. Also introducing shared parental leave that enables men to take time off work by breaking down cultural barriers and financial ones. So fathers get non-transferable 6 weeks of parental leave at 90 percent of pay.
“WE believe our plan will appeal to voters who want equal pay in this lifetime - not the next,” said Walker.
WE are showing the power of our collaborative approach, joining with leaders from all the UK’s major political parties to call for change on equal pay.
#NoSizeFitsAll challenges the fashion industry’s approach to body image and the impact this has on professional models and more widely on all women and girls.