Jeremy Corbyn has argued that “the time for timid measures is over” as he publishes a gender equality strategy that calls for an end to public services and welfare cuts – including those to women’s refuges and services for domestic violence.
Last year it was estimated that since 2010 the number of refuges had decreased by 17%, falling from 187 to 155.
Upon publishing a strategy to achieve gender equality, entitled Working with Women, Corbyn has pledged that his shadow cabinet would be 50% women, and that he would work towards a gender balanced Parliamentary Labour Party
The proposals in this document, he argues will move society towards “real” gender equality, as “women deserve fair pay, fair chances and unflinching support in the face of violence and abuse.” These include plans that aim to move the country towards a system of universal free childcare, requiring companies to publish equal pay audits, scrapping employment tribunal fees and ensuring that laws on sexual assault and protection from harassment are implemented.
The leadership candidates also argues for investing more in skills, training and high quality apprenticeships and emphasises the need to challenge “outdate stereotypes.” He also suggests everyday sexism should be challenged through Personal, Social Health and Economic (PSHE) education in schools, including sex and relationship education.
Corbyn has explained the thinking behind this plans:
“Women face abuse, mistreatment and persistent discrimination, and they face it in work, at home and on our streets. Yet they disproportionately shoulder our unpaid care work, the daily grind of surviving on low pay, and the pain of cuts that have closed domestic violence shelters and left them with no safe haven…Today’s proposals would go a long way towards building a society where women and men exist as equals and flourish. ”
Kate Osamor MP, who is supporting Corbyn’s bid to become leader, has worked with the Islington North MP on these proposals. She has praised him for running an inclusive campaign, arguing:
“I’m so glad that Jeremy Corbyn has opened up a big discussion about the role women would play if he is elected leader of the Labour party – and setting some pointers of the kind of agenda for women we as a party would have. I’m delighted to be working with him on this.
“We can’t change the world everything overnight, but we can do much more together to achieve greater equality and opportunity for everyone.
“One of the main things that I like about Jeremy’s approach to his leadership bid is it’s not all about him – he knows that the model of the suited and booted media star leader is over.
“People are no longer interested. Instead Jeremy is about getting everyone together and working collectively. The days of waiting for policies to be passed down from a Westminster elite are over, or should be.”