The Chancellor has announced that more investment to support women and gender equality in the Spring Budget.
Announced on International Women’s Day, the Budget will give £20 million to organisations that tackle domestic violence and abuse.
A further £5 million fund will be made available for ‘returnships’ – to help those returning to work after long career breaks. Returnships will be open to women and men, with the aim of giving people who have taken lengthy career breaks the opportunity to refresh their skills and build professional networks.
The government will also work with business groups and public sector organisations to identify how to boost further the opportunities for women returning to work.
The Spring Budget is building on the government’s strong record of supporting women.
Prime Minister Theresa May said, “When I stood on the steps of Downing Street and said I wanted this to be a country that works for everyone – I meant it.”
“That’s why – on International Women’s Day – I’m pleased to announce £5 million to help mothers returning to work after a long career break.”
“Women are driving our economy forward, securing 77 per cent of new jobs last year – and now represent a higher percentage of FTSE Board membership than ever before.”
“Returnships are open to both men and women but we should acknowledge that, more often than not, it is women who give up their careers to devote themselves to motherhood, only to find the route back into employment closed off – the doors shut to them.”
“This isn’t right, it isn’t fair and it doesn’t make economic sense.”
“So I want to see this scheme extended to all levels of management and into industries where women are underrepresented.
The Chancellor has also announced a £5 million fund to mark the upcoming centenary of the ground breaking legislation which gave women the right to vote. This money will support projects to celebrate the 100 years that have passed since the Representation of the People Act coming up in 2018 and will educate young people about its significance.
Speaking about the decision to include this in the Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said, “It is important that we not only celebrate next year’s Centenary but also that we educate young people about its significance.”
“It was the decisive step in the political emancipation of women in this country and this money will go to projects to mark its significance and remind us all just how important it was.”