News | Published July 06 2019

Women and Equalities minister Penny Mordaunt discusses policy plans

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, women and equalities minister Penny Mordaunt discussed her policy plans relating to inequality “at every stage of a woman’s life”.

She described the problems faced by women who “worked very hard but earn less and save less”.

Mordaunt plans to address the issues by consulting on employment rights for carers and tackling sexual harassment in the workplace.

Focusing on education, she discussed how the government had been investigating the choices made that impact on women’s “savings and her pension pot”.

She said that they were looking at the decisions made by girls and women “in the classroom [up] to what happens when she heads into the world of work”.

There were strong suggestions that these formative years within the education system would be a focal point for the government’s policy to tackle long-term gender inequality.

Mordaunt also said that abortion rules in Northern Ireland, whereby it can only take place if a woman’s life or health is at serious risk, are “incompatible with a person’s human rights”.

Although the issue is devolved to the Northern Irish government, Mordaunt said that she expected action from the UK government following an expected court ruling on the subject: “If government did not act, parliament would."

Mention was also made of sexual harassment in the workplace, on which she will launch a consultation launch next week.

Proposals for the consultation include making businesses responsible when one employee receives harassment from another.

Topics such as ending paternity leave discrimination, more easily accessible childcare and a consideration for pensions within divorce proceedings were also given mention.

An introduction of employment rights for carers was also referred to, following her comment that “many have asked for paid leave for carers”.

She said that criticisms levelled at government for not implementing these changes were “very fair,” following delays to publishing a green paper on social care, which would include proposals on the subject. Mordaunt concluded it “[needs] more pressure from the Cabinet Office”

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Authored by

Alice Campbell
July 06 2019

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