The Women’s Equality Party today welcomed the extent to which the government’s Roadmap For Change on gender equality acknowledges many of the structural barriers that impact women over their lifetime. However, it criticised the solutions presented by the roadmap as lacking in ambition.
- While shared parental leave is important this roadmap fails to commit to an increase in affordable childcare provision, which is vital for lifting the burden of unpaid childcare from women.
- The roadmap does not recognise the fact that Universal Credit is discriminatory by design. Until the two-child cap, the rape clause and the single payment system (which leaves women vulnerable to economic abuse) are addressed, the benefits system will continue to exacerbate inequality.
- WE welcome consultations on carer’s leave, but the roadmap makes no mention of much-needed investment in the care sector and delays to the publication of a green paper on social care indicate that this is still not a government priority.
Mandu Reid, leader, said:
“It is good to see the government taking positive action to address gender inequalities. Unfortunately, tinkering around the edges of policy won’t solve the problem, particularly as this roadmap fails to challenge the damaging idea that the sectors traditionally regarded as ‘women’s work’ are a drain on the economy while male-dominated fields are an investment. While it is of course important to encourage more girls into STEM subjects, as a society we must also value and invest in caring professions to fully address gender inequality.”
“The failure to address the discrimination built into the universal credit system, to commit to investment for specialist services to tackle violence against women, or to acknowledge the WASPI women who have fought for compensation over the unfair way in which changes to the pension system were handled demonstrate a lack of will to make real changes. This oversight is all the more outrageous when you reflect that this is the same government that has neglected its duty to solve the national social care crisis, instead expecting women to quit their jobs and 'pick up the tab' by taking on more unpaid care work.
“Promises of further research and consultation mean little without commitments to properly invest in the solutions required to bring about gender equality. If there is one thing this roadmap does well, it is recognising the scale of the barriers most women currently face. If the government wants to effectively tackle those barriers, I invite them to implement some of the policies WE have already developed.”
Research by the Women’s Budget Group shows that investment in care creates twice the number of jobs as the same investment in construction. The Women’s Equality Party recognises the economic and social contribution of care work and would therefore invest equally in the UK’s social and physical infrastructure.
As part of our seven key policy areas to tackle gender inequality, WE also have a fully costed plan for universal childcare, plans for ‘use it or lose it’ shared parental leave, and policies for improving the gender balance of the curriculum.
Notes to Editors
The GEO’s Roadmap to Gender Equality can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/814079/GEO_GEEE_Strategy_Gender_Equality_Roadmap_tagged.pdf
Research by the Women’s Budget Group can be found here:
Full details of the Women’s Equality Party policy objectives can be found here:
Department of Health comments about women and unpaid care work can be found here: