It’s International Women’s Day, but 1/365 isn’t enough

Today, it’s International Women’s Day when everyone remembers that women exist and face daily discrimination. And just to pre-empt the first half dozen comments, yes, there is an International Men’s Day. It’s on November 19th. This is the day to follow Richard Herring’s very funny responses to those who ask that question on Twitter. And if you like what he does, consider making a donation to his Crowdfunder to raise money for Refuge. 

Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Conservative Government do more to improve the lives of women and girls across the UK and address the gendered inequalities that persist throughout society.

Lib Dem women MPs have been busy this week. Christine Jardine’s attempts to outlaw the “Pink Tax”, the gender price gap faced by women, Layla Moran’s bid for gender neutral school uniforms and Wera Hobhouse’s bill to ensure mental health postnatal checks hit the headlines. For heaven’s sake, Christine even made it into Vogue! 


In a joint statement Liberal Democrat MPs Christine Jardine, Jo Swinson, Layla Moran and Wera Hobhouse said:

It is frustrating and unacceptable that in the UK in 2019, women and girls continue to face so many everyday barriers.

The Conservative Government have passed the role of Minister for Women and Equalities around like a hot potato, whilst many of the issues that still disproportionately impact women and girls are failing to be addressed.

Liberal Democrats demand better for women and girls. Last year Liberal Democrats introduced legislation to make upskirting a specific offence and now it’s illegal. For International Women’s Day 2019 we’re fighting to improve the lives of women and girls in other ways: by banning the pink tax so that women do not pay more for the same products, introducing gender neutral school uniforms, and improving mental health care for postnatal women.

International Women’s Day is not only about celebrating the achievements of women, but about taking action, and that is exactly what the Liberal Democrats are doing.

This is all fantastic stuff, but yesterday, the Women’s Budget Group reported that cuts to local authority funding had a disproportionate effect on women.

Cuts to local services have combined with benefit changes and the onset of Universal Credit to leave women poorer in both cash and kind, since most cannot afford private housing, childcare and other services available to the well-off. A report on the situation in the UK in2018 by Professor Philip Alston, the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, concluded that women, single parents, BME people and asylum seekers had been worst hit by the Government’s austerity regime. He also found that local government cuts were ‘damaging the fabric of society’ and that if you got a group of misogynists in a room and said, ‘how can we make this system work for men and not for women?’ they would not have come up with too many ideas that are not already in place”.

His remarks chimed with the findings of UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, who has argued that austerity policies around the world hit women harder and damage their human rights.

There is so much more to be done.  The focus is on women today, but as the wonderful founder of Women 50/50 Talat Yaqoob says:

 

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One Comment

  • Important word here is INTERNATIONAL. There’s absolutely no doubt that the way women are treated in many countries around the world is beyond disgust. As for the state of gender relations in the west, well let’s just say that perhaps we need a more nuanced approach .

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