Six ways Labour can win with women in 2015

19th September, 2013 2:50 pm

So Labour Women’s Conference is this Saturday, and there’s one event that has caught my eye. It’s the very first session, called ‘Women in Tough Times’ and it’s an “open mic policy discussion to explore what our policy priorities should be for women facing a cost of living crisis”.

Setting Labour Women’s policy agenda has never been so important. Labour has captured the female vote, according to a recent Ipsos Mori poll: as it stands, Labour has a 13 point lead over the Tories among women, and a higher percentage of women than men would vote Labour tomorrow.

Labour is reaching out to women – and women are listening. But a Sun YouGov poll today highlights how tenuous Labour’s lead with the ladies is. If we want to keep female voters on board, we need to get Labour policies right for women. Here are six manifesto commitments Labour Women could call for to win women’s votes in 2015, in no particular order:

______________________________________________________

1. Make women safer online-  Since Caroline Criardo-Perez took Twitter to task over rape threats on the site, it’s become clear that women want better protection from sexual harrassment, intimidation and threats online. Women need to feel safe to make mistakes, voice opinions and post public profiles online without facing a torrent of abuse. Labour needs to respond to this and show it’s listening to women’s voices, by pledging to regulate social media and news sites, set up anti-trolling helplines or give police more powers to crack down on sexism and sexual threats online.

______________________________________________________

2. Affordable childcare “Labour needs a childcare revolution,” MP Meg Hillier said earlier this year. She’s absolutely right; childcare costs have spiralled out of control.  A Mumsnet poll shows 17% of parents have to borrow money to pay nursery bills. 37% say they spend as much on childcare as they do on mortgage repayments. An affordable childcare policy would play well to female voters. Childcare issues affect both parents, but expensive nursery costs hit women particularly hard. Thanks to the pay gap, working mums end up spending a bigger proportion of their salary on childcare than men do. High nursery costs hit single parents even harder –  and 90% of these are women.

______________________________________________________

3. Equal pay   The pay gap is narrowing, but women still earn around 10% less than men. In 2012, CMI reported that male managers earn a basic salary of £40,325, compared with £30,265 for their female counterparts. Labour needs to pledge to tackle the pay gap if it wants to win women’s hearts. A Labour government could require companies to publish anonymised pay data to employees, or set up fast-track tribunals for women who want to contest their pay. Labour could set up a gender pay review and promise to implement its recommendations. The pay gap means women will struggle more than men with inflating food, housing and energy prices. That’s why Labour need to reach out to women in work and pledge to tackle the 10% pay gap that squeezes women’s finances during the recession.

______________________________________________________

4. Better maternity care A maternity health policy will play well with parents everywhere. We could pledge to shut down unsafe maternity wards, like Whipps Cross in East London, and establish new ones to cope with Britain’s increased birth rate. Or we could promise pregnant women access to a named midwife, or better antenatal classes, on the NHS – sending a small, but symbolic, signal that Labour will support them when they need it most.

______________________________________________________

5. Better miscarriage care. One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, but miscarriage care in the UK is woefully poor. AMumsnet survey found only 14% of miscarrying women rated NHS treatment they received as ‘excellent’, and 27% rated it as abysmal or near abysmal. Of the women who needed surgery, 35% had to wait over four days. And nearly half the women who miscarried were put in wards next to new mothers, adding insult to injury. An Ipsos Mori poll this week shows 42% of women say Labour leads on NHS issues, compared to 13% who trust the Conservatives on health, so it’s right that Labour leads on women’s health and pledges to improve miscarriage care.

______________________________________________________

6. Pledge not to cut more public sector jobs Women are more likely to work in the public sector (In  2012, 22% of women’s jobs were in the public sector compared to 12% of men.) As Vera Baird QC has argued, “Public service cuts impact disproportionately on women in two ways. Not only are jobs lost but they are jobs in which employment, equality rights and flexibility are far more part of the culture and less contested than in business. In short, they are the kind of jobs that make it easier for women to work.”). Women are also more likely to use public services. So by pledging not to cut the public sector further, Labour could make women’s lives better across the board.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • Redshift1

    Whilst I don’t want to knock it entirely because it isn’t that I think you’re wrong per se, and I’m also not a woman but points 2-6 strike me as about 10 times more important than point 1?

Latest

  • Comment Featured Working people are losing their voice: It’s time to bring democratic reform back into the Labour mainstream

    Working people are losing their voice: It’s time to bring democratic reform back into the Labour mainstream

    The vote to leave the European Union was a stark reminder that Labour’s political elites are losing touch with the working class communities the party was founded to represent. Despite the party urging otherwise, the majority of Labour’s heartlands – Britain’s neglected former industrial towns – voted to leave the EU. In many of those places, Labour’s support base has been in decline for some time. There are many explanations for this existential threat to the Labour party. Labour’s inability to address concerns on […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Richard Burgon: In defence of Labour Party members

    Richard Burgon: In defence of Labour Party members

    Abusive and threatening behaviour online and misogyny are serious societal problems that urgently need tackling. The leader of the Labour Party has made it clear that abusive and threatening behaviour, misogynistic or otherwise, is completely unacceptable. Our party has formal disciplinary procedures for members found to be perpetrators of this kind of behaviour. If abusive and threatening behaviour amounts to a criminal act, then those on the receiving end can – and should be encouraged to – report the matter to the police. The leader […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Public prefer Smith to Corbyn for Prime Minister, new poll shows

    Public prefer Smith to Corbyn for Prime Minister, new poll shows

    Owen Smith would make a better choice Prime Minister than Jeremy Corbyn, according to a new poll. More than half – 57 per cent – of people prefer Smith, while only 43 per cent backed Corbyn, the survey of voters from across the general public reveals. Voters were also asked who they would prefer to see as Labour leader, which inspired exactly the same result. The Evening Standard/BMG poll is the latest in a series raising questions about Labour’s popularity with […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured High Court’s Corbyn ruling has staved off a fresh Labour crisis – but this row was a problem of the party’s own making

    High Court’s Corbyn ruling has staved off a fresh Labour crisis – but this row was a problem of the party’s own making

    The Labour Party can now release a collective sigh of relief. It’s hard to conceive how much worse Labour’s current internal warring could be, but those limits of imagination would have been robustly tested had the High Court ruled against the NEC’s decision to put Corbyn on the leadership ballot automatically. Calling it a factional dispute would not even begin to cover the scale of the prospective horror show. The party’s rules about whether or not an incumbent leader needs […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Corbyn confirmed on the ballot as judge rejects challenge

    Corbyn confirmed on the ballot as judge rejects challenge

    Jeremy Corbyn will remain on the leadership ballot, a judge has ruled today. A High Court judge concluded the NEC had been “correct in law” to allow Corbyn to appear on the leadership ballot automatically. The ruling means the incumbent will not now need to gain nominations from 51 MPs and MEPs, as his challenger Owen Smith has done, and the leadership contest will not be restarted. The case, brought by large Labour donor Michael Foster, claimed the NEC decision – made at a marathon […]

    Read more →
x

LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends










Submit