Every day in the UK women face inequality at home, at work, in politics and in public life. That makes the UK a worse place to live for everybody.
Although women make up 51 per cent of the population, only 30 per cent of MPs, 25 per cent of judges and 21 per cent of FTSE 100 company directors are female.
Women still occupy the lowest-paid jobs. At the current rate it will be 70 years before the gender pay gap – currently almost 16 per cent – eventually closes.
Around 1.2 million women suffer domestic abuse a year and over 330,000 women are sexually assaulted. Conviction rates are low.
Although at school girls outperform boys in every mainstream GCSE subject other than maths, and young women make up 57 per cent of first degree university graduates, somewhere along their career path, women fall behind.
An average woman working full-time from 18 to 59 will earn £361,000 less over her working life than an equivalent man.
Over the years some progress has been made. In 1983 just three per cent of MPs were women. The proportion of women on boards has risen from just 12.5 per cent to 23.5 per cent in four short years. More men view themselves as equal partners in the task of balancing work and family.
But we need to up the pace of change. We need to seize every opportunity – at home, at work or in the media – to make the case for equality.
For that case is a powerful one.
Big business is leading the way with its recognition that greater diversity at the top of organisations improves the working environment, boosts productivity, creates efficiency savings and improves brand reputation.
Helping more women into the workplace – by offering flexible working and support with childcare – would also generate huge economic benefits for the country.
Unleashing women’s full potential could add 10 per cent, or over £150 billion, to our GDP by 2030 if all the women that wanted to work did so.
Closing the gender pay gap would increase revenue from income tax and national insurance while reducing payments in tax credits. It would also boost women’s spending power across the wider economy.
A more diverse House of Commons would make better decisions and solve problems more effectively, because it would be able to draw on a wider range of experiences when examining new laws. It would also build and restore public faith in Parliament that is crucial to the future of our democracy.
Our schools and universities would not only keep girls on the path to academic success, but play a significant role in challenging gender stereotypes – not least on the subjects they take – and in shaping the values and attitudes of all young people.
While we need the authorities to support victims of violence in rebuilding their lives, report crimes and make sure perpetrators are brought to justice, education could also help make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place.
#WE will set out the case for change. We will work together to finally bring an end to the injustices women still face and to unleash the enormous potential women offer, to the benefit of everybody.
Please join us on this journey.
The Women’s Equality Party is now open for members – and you can join us as an official Founding Member today.
Everyone who joins before October will be entitled to a range of special offers you can find on our website. But the best part of being a Founding Member is taking part and helping change things for the better.
- If you want to help us end violence against women – #JoinWE
- If you want every child to have equal chances irrespective of gender – #JoinWE
- If you want to enable equal opportunities in parenting, caring and in the workplace – #JoinWE
- If you want to see an equal society represented in our media, our politics, in business and in working life – #JoinWE
We have been moved and astonished and thrilled by the response to the Women’s Equality Party. It has been an honour to meet, engage with, and just listen to so many of you amazing, inspiring people over the last three months.
It would be an even greater honour if you would join us, as an official Founding Member of the party, and help us make history.
On behalf of Catherine Mayer and Sandi Toksvig