Political parties respond to our questions #4

Wednesday 11 December 2019

In the run-up to Election Day on 12 December, we've been asking political parties how they plan to create an equal society for young women. To help you decide how to cast your vote, in the final of our series of blogs.

Here are the responses we received to questions on building equal workplaces:

question 7

conservativesConservative Party spokesperson: “We have launched a roadmap, which includes 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. We are also introducing stronger protections for new parents returning to work and have published a new Code of Practice to tackle sexual harassment at work.”

labourJeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour party: “As Dawn Butler, our Shadow Women and Equalities Minister has announced, we will kickstart a #MeToo revolution in the workplace by strengthening protections against sexual harassment and banning Non-Disclosure Agreements so women’s voices are not silenced.

Labour will give equal rights to all workers from day one. We’ll double the timeframe within which employment tribunals can be taken, as well as require employers to publish their sexual harassment policy and the steps being taken to implement it on their external website. And we’ll set new standards for tackling domestic and sexual abuse and violence, appointing a Commissioner for Violence against Women and Girls, to challenge wider societal problems around sexual harassment and abuse.”

liberal demChristine Jardine, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Women and Equalities: “Liberal Democrats believe that government needs to take an active role both in punishing discrimination and ensuring that it does not happen in the first place. We will tackle the rise in hate crimes by making them all aggravated offences, giving law enforcement the resources and training they need to identify and prevent them, and condemning inflammatory rhetoric by those with public platforms.

As well as this we will develop a free, comprehensive unconscious bias training toolkit, making the provision of unconscious bias training to all members of staff a condition of the receipt of public funds. We will also take a zero-tolerance approach to harassment and bullying in Westminster and legislate to empower constituents to recall MPs who commit sexual harassment.

It is essential that everyone learns from a young age that bullying and harassment are wrong, in order to prevent it at all stages. We will tackle bullying in schools, including bullying on the basis of gender, sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression, by promoting pastoral leadership in schools and delivering high-quality sex and relationships education.”

WEP logoMandu Reid, Leader of the Women’s Equality party: “Sexual harassment is rife across every sector including in the heart of political power in Westminster, where one in five employees reported having been sexually harassed. For young women with insecure employment starting out in the world of work this is compounded. We are challenging sexual harassment and violence against women at the ballot box, with parliamentary candidates who are survivors of male violence standing in seats where the former MPs faced unresolved allegations of harassment or violence. We are challenging the culture of impunity in politics and all workplaces, by making harassment unacceptable. We will also ensure that employers have clear workplace policies against sexual harassment, which are publicised to all workers.”

question 8

conservativesConservative party spokesperson: “We have launched a roadmap, which includes 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. We are also introducing stronger protections for new parents returning to work and have published a new Code of Practice to tackle sexual harassment at work.”

labourJeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour party: “Flexible working should be the new normal for everyone, including parents. This is why Labour will require all large employers to include flexible working as default. Instead of the onus being on the employee to argue for flexible working, with the employer simply able to say no and prevent the worker from even requesting it again for an entire year, we will introduce a presumption in favour of flexible work for every role. And we’ll strengthen - and crucially – enforce equalities legislation with a new Workers Protection Agency, giving statutory rights to equalities representatives so that no women is left without support in the workplace.”

liberal demChristine Jardine, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Women and Equalities: “Liberal Democrats are proud of the role we played in introducing shared parental leave but we know that these provisions need to go further and work for all families. That is why we will increase statutory paternity leave from the current two weeks up to six weeks and ensure that parental leave is a day-one right, and address continuing inequalities faced by same-sex couples. We will also expand the rights and benefits available to those in insecure forms of employment, such as offering parental leave and pay to the self-employed.”

WEP logoMandu Reid, Leader of the Women’s Equality party: “One of the reasons that women are paid less than men is employers’ expectations that they will take time out of work to have and raise children, regardless of whether they actually intend to or not. In addition to investing in universal childcare to give women real choices about how they balance childcare and work, we will also increase the parental leave fathers or second carers are entitled to and introduce it on a use-it-or-lose-it basis. Evidence from other countries shows that when families face losing their parental leave they are much more likely to take it, and when fathers routinely care for their children from the first months of their lives they are more likely to shoulder more of the care as children get older. Employers will get used to men taking time out of work to care for the families as well as women, and attitudes to and expectations of men and women entering the workforce will change.”

Cast your vote on 12 December! We #TrustInWomen to use this election to make their voices heard.

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