MPs say employers are not doing enough to tackle gender inequality

Thursday 8 March 2018

MPs say employers are not doing enough to tackle gender inequality 

YWTThe majority of MPs say employers are not doing enough to tackle women’s inequality, as many expect they will not see equality in their lifetime, according to a ComRes survey of MPs commissioned by Young Women’s Trust for International Women’s Day.

The charity’s poll of more than 150 MPs shows that MPs are pessimistic about women’s futures, with 37 per cent saying equality will not be achieved in their lifetime, at the current rate of progress. A huge 58 per cent say employers are not doing enough to tackle gender inequality in the workplace. 

Women MPs are the most pessimistic. 73 per cent do not think they will see equality in their lifetime, compared to 26 per cent of men. The latest intakes of MPs (from 2015 onwards) are less hopeful than MPs who arrived in parliament earlier. 

Meanwhile, 18-30 year-olds think we are more likely to discover aliens than end gender discrimination any time soon. In a Populus Data Solutions survey of more than 4,000 young people for Young Women’s Trust, 37 per cent said scientists will have discovered life on another planet by the time they are forty but just 27 per cent said that gender discrimination in the UK would be a thing of the past.

The charity’s research shows that young women are still facing workplace discrimination, sexual harassment and unequal pay in huge numbers. They are also more likely to be stuck on low pay or in insecure work, with many struggling to make ends meet and falling into debt. 

When asked about women’s ability to progress to the top roles, just a third of young people think there will be an equal number of women business leaders (33 per cent) or MPs (34 per cent) by the time they’re middle-aged. Nearly half (48 per cent), however, think that men and women will take an equal role in caring for children. 

The statistics reflect the slow progress there has been on women’s equality since the first UK women got the vote 100 years ago. Now, Young Women’s Trust is calling for urgent action to make this the year that politicians and business leaders press fast-forward on women’s equality. 

Commenting, Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: 

“100 years on from gaining the right to vote, women at work still face huge inequalities. They are more likely than men to be on low pay, in insecure jobs and to face sexual harassment. Discrimination, high childcare costs and gender stereotypes shut many women out of the workplace all together. 

“We’ve already waited too long; at this rate, today’s young women will retire before equality in the workplace becomes a reality.  

“We need to press for progress to improve young women’s prospects and give them hope for the future. This means giving them the right skills and support to find jobs, ensuring decent and flexible jobs are available, making childcare accessible and affordable and changing the law to ensure under-25s are entitled to the same National Living Wage as everyone else. This would benefit businesses and the economy too. 

“Without action, today’s young women face a lifetime of inequality.” 

Today (Thursday 8 March), on International Women’s Day, Young Women’s Trust is calling for politicians to make 2018 the year of action for young women. 

ENDS 

Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.
  2. Young Women’s Trust commissioned ComRes to conduct a survey of 157 MPs between 4 and 29 January 2018. Data were weighted to be representative of the House of Commons by party and region. The survey found that:

a)    37 per cent do not think gender equality will be achieved in their lifetime (73 per cent women, 26 per cent men, and 46 per cent from the 2015 onwards intake and 26 per cent from the 1997 intake);

b)    58 per cent say employers are not doing enough to tackle gender inequality in the workplace.

3. Young Women’s Trust commissioned Populus Data Solutions to conduct a survey of young people. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year-olds in England and Wales, from the Populus Live Online Panel, were surveyed between 4 and 14 July 2017. The findings show that:

a)    When asked about the most important factors to achieving gender equality in the UK, the most common answers given were judging women on their ability not their appearance (92 per cent of young people), employers doing more to treat men and women equally (89 per cent of young people) and equal portrayal of men and women in the media (86 per cent of young people). Young women were far more likely than young men to describe a wide range of factors as important to achieving gender equality than young men.

b)    More young people think that scientists will have discovered life on another planet by the time they are 40 (37 per cent) than think there will be as many women as men MPs (34 per cent), as many women as men business leaders (33 per cent) or that gender discrimination in the UK will be a thing of the past (27 per cent).

For more information or to speak to a young woman from the Young Women’s Trust advisory panel, please contact Bex Bailey on bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org or 07963018281.

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