Young Women’s Trust response to The Queen’s Speech

Thursday 19 December 2019

Speaking today in response to The Queen’s Speech, Sophie Walker, Chief Executive of Young Women’s Trust said:

“The Queen’s Speech, as expected, sets out Brexit as the key priority for next year. At Young Women’s Trust we urge the new government to ensure policies and trade deals consider and seek to lift everyone, including young women hardest hit by austerity. As set out in our recent statement it’s essential that government recognise the potential of young women, their resourcefulness and skills that are so often overlooked, and invest in their equality and productivity to the benefit of everyone.

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We welcome commitments to invest in the NHS and social care workforce, a high proportion of which are women. And flexible working and better support for working families is vital. This must however include support for single parent families, of whom the vast majority are women. Investment in social infrastructure such as free childcare, and a supportive rather than punitive welfare system is needed to support all young women and families.

The speech highlighted the importance of improving the criminal justice system so that it keeps people safe - however this must not just be about terrorism. The speech rightly mentioned the need for courts to better support survivors of domestic abuse but we need far more than this, including scrutinising the rape prosecutions being delayed for years amid record-low conviction rates. The progress made in creating the Domestic Abuse Bill must not be lost, and this should be built on to support women experiencing all forms of violence against women and girls, including specific resources for young women.

If the government is going to support all to access housing as indicated in the speech, that means not just discounts to first time buyers but investing in, building and supporting social housing, affordable rental properties, specialist women’s accommodation and refuges that can truly benefit all young women.

We are keen to meet the new government as soon as possible to discuss the importance of protecting young women's rights in all new policy making, and the need for a full and transparent equalities impact assessment of leaving the EU. Our research has shown that two-thirds of young women have lost confidence in politicians because they are struggling to access work, falling into debt as in-work poverty bites, and even forced to choose between food and childcare. If the government is to deliver on its election promise to unleash the potential of the whole country, now is the time to listen to young women and to do policy differently.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact:

Phone Joe Levenson on 020 7837 2019
Email joe.levenson@youngwomenstrust.org

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