Saturday, 18 April 2015

Women's Policies in the Liberal Democrat Manifesto

Flexibility at work and fair pay
Ensure swift implementation of the new rules requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish details of the different pay levels of men and women in their organisation. We will build on this platform and, by 2020, extend transparency requirements to include publishing the number of people paid less than the Living Wage and the ratio between top and median pay. We will also consult on requirements for companies to conduct and publish a full equality pay review, and to consult staff on executive pay.
Equal care for mental health
Transform care for pregnant women, new mothers and those who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, and help them get the early care they need.  Revolutionise children’s mental health services. With the £250m a year announced in this year’s Budget we will implement the proposals outlined in the report of the Government’s Children’s Mental Health Taskforce. This means building better links with schools, ensuring all children develop mental resilience, and getting support and care quickly to those who are struggling. Our investment will help ensure children can access high-quality care closer to home.  Support a million more women who want to work with better childcare, help with caring responsibilities and action against discrimination
Equality and diversity
To advance the cause of women and gender equality we will: Set an ambitious goal to see a million more women in work by 2020 thanks to more jobs, better childcare, and better back-to work support. Challenge gender stereotyping and early sexualisation, working with schools to promote positive body image and widespread understanding of sexual consent law, and break down outdated perceptions of gender appropriateness of particular academic subjects. Work to end the gender pay gap, including with new rules on gender pay transparency. Continue the drive for diversity in business leadership, maintaining momentum towards at least 30% of board members being women and encouraging gender diversity among senior managers, too. We will work to achieve gender equity in government programmes that support entrepreneurs.
Secure Communities
End FGM at home and abroad in a generation, teach sexual consent in our schools, and crack down on domestic violence
Tackling violence against women and girls
A fair society cannot tolerate today’s unacceptable level of violence against women and girls in Britain. We have made progress since 2010 but we will not rest until women feel safe and respected.
We will:
  • Ensure teachers, social workers, police officers and health workers in areas where there is high prevalence of female genital mutilation or forced marriage are trained to help those at risk.
  • Require the teaching of sexual consent in schools as part of age appropriate sex and relationships education.
  • Improve the provision of rape crisis centres and refuges for victims of domestic violence with a national network and national sources of funding.
  • Protect funding for tackling violence against women and girls and maintain the post of International Champion for preventing this violence.  
  •  Create a national helpline for victims of domestic and sexual violence – regardless of gender – to provide support, encourage reporting and secure more convictions.  
  • Work to ensure the whole criminal justice system updates practice in line with the Director of Public Prosecutions’ guidance on sexual consent.
Justice System
Create a Women’s Justice Board, modelled on the Youth Justice Board, to improve rehabilitation of female offenders.
Standing up for Liberal values
Prioritise support, protection and equal rights for women and girls, which is essential for effective, sustainable economic development. We will pursue an International Gender Equality Strategy, work to secure women’s rights to education and freedom from forced marriage; and aim to end female genital mutilation worldwide within a generation.


Policies on Women in the Conservative Manifesto

Jobs for all
we will make our economy more inclusive, by removing barriers that stop women and disabled people from participating in our workforce. To achieve this, we will back British businesses: cutting red tape, lowering taxes on jobs and enterprise, getting young people into work, boosting  apprenticeships and investing in science and technology.
A job is the best way to provide security for families
We now have more women-led businesses than ever before, more women in work than ever before and more women on FTSE 100 boards than ever before. We want to see full, genuine gender equality. The gender pay gap is the lowest on record, but we want to reduce it further and will push business to do so: we will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees.  We also want to increase the proportion of public appointments going to women in the next Parliament, as well as the number of female MPs.
We will deliver a strong NHS through a strong economy
Building on our success in training thousands of nurses and midwives to become health visitors, we will ensure that women have access to mental health support during and after pregnancy, while strengthening the health visiting programme for new mothers.
We will boost sport in your community
We will lift the number of women on national sports governing bodies to at least 25 per cent by 2017, and seek to increase participation in sport by women and girls.
We will prioritise tackling violence against women and girls
We have made protecting women and girls from violence and supporting victims and survivors of sexual violence a key priority. We will now work with local authorities, the NHS and Police and Crime Commissioners to ensure a secure future for specialist FGM and forced marriage units, refuges and rape crisis centres.
We will toughen sentencing and use new technology to protect the public
We will improve the treatment of women offenders, exploring how new technology may enable more women with young children to serve their sentence in the community.
We will stand up for British values
Our long-term security and prosperity depend on a stable international system that upholds our values. Over the last five years, we have stood up for what we believe in: intervening to stop a massacre in Libya, leading the world in tackling sexual violence in conflict, and helping women and children who have fled violence in Syria. We will continue this leadership. We will continue to lead efforts to tackle violence against women and girls, end FGM and combat early and forced marriage, both at home and abroad.


Monday, 13 April 2015

Women's Policies in the Labour Manifesto

The Labour Manifesto was launched today and I have picked out those policies which are significant to women's concerns in the UK. I am not offering an analysis because my job prohibits me from commenting publicly about party political issues. I am hoping that the launch of the political manifestos by all the parties this week (which I will also blog about) will add to a momentum that will encourage women to register to vote by 20 April,  if they haven't already done so, and to actually turn out to vote on 7 May.

The female vote is needed to collectively add up to a mass block of being an influential voice in British politics. 

Labour proposes the following women specific policies:

1. Tackling Crime  - According to Labour cuts to policing has resulted in a lower number of prosecutions in cases related to women such as rape, domestic violence and child abuse. Labour says it will protect frontline policing and tackle violence against women and girls by reforming the police governance system and by passing a 'Victims' Law' that will 'put victims at the heart of the justice system'.

Specifically, Labour will publish a Violence against Women and Girls Bill, appoint a commissioner to set minimum standards in tackling domestic and sexual violence, and provide central funding for women’s refuges and Rape Crisis Centres; ban the use of community resolutions as a response to domestic violence, tighten the gun licensing regime so that people with a history of domestic or sexual violence will not be given an unrestricted license, make changes to DNA retention so that rape suspects have their DNA recorded and stored and will 'widen access' to legal aid for victims of domestic violence.

2. Work - According to Labour women, ethnic minorities and the disabled 'have been hit hardest' because 'progress on people's equalities is being rolled back'.

Labour proposes to tackle these issues by requiring large companies to publish their gender pay gap, increase the National Minimum Wage to more than £8 an hour by October 2019 and introduce Make Work Pay contracts to provide tax rebates to firms becoming Living Wage employers and will ban zero-hours contracts.

3 For Parents - Labour will extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for working parents of three and four-year-olds, ensure all primary schools guarantee access to wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm, double paternity leave from two to four weeks and increase paternity pay by more than £100 a week.

4. For young people - Labour will guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who attains the grades and require any firm that gets a large government contract to offer apprenticeships and Labour has pledged to reduce tuition fees to £6,000 a year from £9,000 a year.


A 'Message' from the 1%

Embedded image permalink

Thanks to


Saturday, 4 April 2015

Does Paternity Leave Lead to Better Sex?

'Want better sex, dads? Take Paternity Leave' was the title of a comment piece in yesterday's Guardian newspaper. I had to re read the title because it never occurred to me that paternity leave is anything other than about the man wanting to spend quality time with his child. Does have to come into everything? Perhaps I am naive and the 'men think about sex every 7 seconds' bit includes appraising life's circumstances as to when to chance it as opposed to spending that time thinking about the act itself.

According to the article, research has shown that couples who share the house work equally rather than adhere to traditional gender divided/assumed roles have a higher satisfaction rate in their marital and sex lives. The writer of the article, Stephanie Coontz, mentions the sex bit in an article otherwise which offers a balanced view of the difficulties that face men when considering paternity leave. The ending however dangles sex as a carrot in the hope that men may just be persuaded to take time off. How strange - I will never understand the psyche of men.