Sophie Walker, Chief Executive of Young Women’s Trust, said: “We are keen to meet the new government as soon as possible to discuss the importance of protecting young women's rights and freeing their potential as we move towards Brexit."
What we want from the next government
We want the next government to
- champion and cheer young women and girl's resourcefulness and creativity, and build bridges to economic justice
- break down the barriers that limit young women's choices
- recognise and reward the unpaid work young women do
- put an end to discrimination and build equal workplaces
What a Conservative government means for young women
We've looked through the manifestos to see what the Conservative party have promised on the issues affecting young women. Prime Minister Boris Johnson must now deliver on his campaign pledges and deliver for young women.
Establish a new £1 billion fund to help create more high quality, affordable childcare, including before and after school and during the school holidays.
Extend the entitlement to leave for unpaid carers, the majority of whom are women, to one week.
Encourage a new market in long-term fixed rate mortgages which slash the cost of deposits, opening up a secure path to home ownership for first-time buyers in all parts of the United Kingdom.
Offer more homes to local families, enabling councils to use developers’ contributions via the planning process to discount homes by a third for local people who cannot otherwise afford to buy in their area.
Create a fairer rental market: if you’re a tenant, you will be protected from revenge evictions and rogue landlords, and if you’re one of the many good landlords, we will strengthen your rights of possession.
Renew the Affordable Homes Programme, in order to support the delivery of hundreds of thousands of affordable homes.
End the blight of rough sleeping by the end of the next Parliament.
Supporting Women-led business
Expand start-up loans, which have particularly high take-up from women and BAME entrepreneurs.
Help those looking after family members, especially women, ensuring the main carer in any household receives the Universal Credit payment. This will help give greater independence to individuals, most often women, trapped with coercive partners.
Use the tax and benefits system to reduce poverty, including child poverty.
Create a single enforcement body and crack down on any employer abusing employment law, whether by taking workers’ tips or refusing them sick pay.
Ensure that workers have the right to request a more predictable contract and other reasonable protections.
Encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to.
Introduce a range of measures to financially empower women at every stage of their lives, from school to retirement, such as continuing to support family friendly policies in the workplace.
Introduce stronger protections for new parents returning to work and have published a new Code of Practice to tackle sexual harassment at work.
Treat mental health with the same urgency as physical health.
Legislate so that patients suffering from mental health conditions, including anxiety or depression, have greater control over their treatment and receive the dignity and respect they deserve.
Providing an additional £14 billion over the next three years, increasing the minimum level of per pupil funding in primary and secondary schools.
Increase funding for pupils with Special Educational Needs, so that every child can reach their potential.
Raise teachers’ starting salaries to £30,000 – among the most competitive in the graduate labour market.
Create a new National Skills Fund worth £3 billion over the next Parliament to transform the lives of people who have not got onto the work ladder and lack qualifications, as well as people who are keen to return to work from, say, raising a family, or switch from one career to another. It will not only make this country more prosperous, but fairer.
Low pay and youth employment
Increase the National Living Wage to two thirds of average earnings, currently forecast at £10.50 an hour, and widened its reach to everyone over 21.
Abolish employers’ National Insurance Contributions for under-21s and apprentices under 25 to help young people get a foot on the employment ladder.
Young Women's Trust response to the party manifestos
Responding to the publication of the Conservatives’ manifesto, Young Women’s Trust Chief Executive Sophie Walker, said:
“Mr Johnson's pledge to spend twice as much on fixing potholes than on fixing the current childcare crisis is disappointing. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out that proper investment in childcare benefits us all.
"A fully functioning infrastructure of care creates jobs, gives young women increased access to paid work, boosts productivity and economic growth, creates higher tax revenues and cuts welfare payments - all of which also provides more money to fix potholes.
"Young women in the UK need more than short-term thinking and headline-grabbing election pledges. They need transformational change to knock down the barriers to their equality across all of our social, economic and political systems.
"Women are half of the population of the UK and are increasingly impatient to see an end to the economic injustice they have for too long faced. I can't imagine huge numbers of them will welcome a doorstep chat with a Conservative Party representative who tells them that potholes matter more."
Responding to the Labour’s Party manifesto and its impact on young women, Young Women's Trust Chief Executive Sophie Walker, said:
“Labour’s pledge of flexible working for all is key to enabling more young women, particularly those with caring responsibilities, to access paid work. Its promise to tackle zero-hour contracts is welcome too, given that young women are more likely than young men to be offered such low paid, insecure work.
“Young women’s economic justice relies on far more than this however, and for that reason it’s disappointing to see Labour’s limited commitments on care. An increase of paternity leave from two to four weeks does not even come close to re-balancing the fundamental inequality underpinning the current model. There’s a clear disconnect between the level of ambition in the party’s nationalisation and physical infrastructure plans and the attention it has paid to social infrastructure. This is also reflected in its timescale for closing the pay gap, which could happen sooner than 2030 if these structural inequalities were more fully recognised.
“Young women will be encouraged that more than half the Labour MPs standing in the election are women. But headline numbers will not stand up to scrutiny unless policies are framed through the lens of women to ensure representation is not in name only.
“All told, Mr Corbyn’s pledges, while positive, fall short of the transformational changes required to truly unlock the potential of young women, especially those furthest away from economic and political power."
Responding to the Liberal Democrats manifesto’s pledge to provide better childcare, parental leave, employment support and pay transparency, Young Women's Trust Chief executive Sophie Walker said:
“There is much in the Lib Dems manifesto to applaud. Jo Swinson is right. Free childcare would boost the economy by enabling more parents to return to the workforce earlier. And she is right that free childcare will unlock the untapped potential of young women.
“But the Liberal Democrats’ individual pledges still fall short of providing a compelling vision of how to create a social and physical infrastructure and bring about the transformational changes which are needed to truly unlock the potential of young women, especially those furthest away from economic and political power."