Women in Britain suffer disadvantage in all areas of life:
- Women working full-time on average earn 17% less than men working full-time; for part-time workers the gap is 36% an hour.
- Twenty percent of single women pensioners risk being in poverty in retirement.
- Fewer than 20% of Westminster MPs are female;
- less than 11% of board members on major British companies are female.
- Women still carry out the majority of unpaid work in the home, particularly caring work, and in total work considerably more hours than men on average.
- One in four women is subjected to domestic violence during her lifetime.
- Rape and sexual assault remain a blight on our society, with significant under-reporting of cases, and with only six out of 100 cases reported to police resulting in a conviction.
- Violence against women costs our society 40bn pounds a year, and the psychological and personal costs are enormous.
The Green Party would
* Recognise that work consists of many tasks other than those that are currently paid.
* Introduce a citizens’ income for all, and a citizens’ pension. These measure would significantly reduce poverty, and particularly women’s poverty, and end the traps that can make returning to paid work, or doing part-time work, currently unsustainable or financially impossible.
* Introduce shared maternity and paternity leave for the first month after birth or adoption, then provide for 22 months, which must be shared so that the parent taking less time takes a minimum of six months, except for single parents. This is to be paid at 90% of salary up to a reasonable level.
* Introduce a law to ensure that boards of major companies are at least 40% female. (Following the model in Norway)
* Insist that all large and medium-size companies carry out equal pay audits, and redress inequalities uncovered; and that the law be changed to make joint suits for equal pay cases simpler.
* Implement its model policy for dealing with domestic abuse (including domestic violence) which recognizes that the needs and desires of the victims must be paramount, and that all service providers who come into contact with potentially vulnerable women need to be trained to provide appropriate assistance
* Ensure that a full range of birth options is available to all women, and that all women are entitled to the care of a single midwife throughout their maternity experience and postnatally.
* Improve services to assist mothers to breastfeed if they choose, and introduce a law with significant fines for companies whose employees attempt to stop women breastfeeding on their premises (as has been successfully implemented in Scotland.
* Remove the law requiring the consent of two doctors for an abortion, allow midwives and nurses who are appropriately qualified to perform abortions, and remove other restrictions that are medically unnecessary, with the aim of improving access to NHS abortions.
* Ensure that rape crisis centres and domestic violence centres receive guaranteed funding from core budgets so that they are not forced to operate in a state of constant funding uncertainty.
* Institute an asylum policy that in particular recognizes the potential risks to, and needs of, women seeking asylum, including issues of forced marriage, female genital mutilation and domestic violence.
In light of the fact that less than 20% of MPs in Westminster are women, the Green Party passed the following organisational motion at Autumn Conference 2012:
The elections and equality and diversity coordinators on the Green Party Executive will be tasked with working with local and regional parties to promote the training and conditions within the Green Party to enable it to work towards the proportion of female candidates reaching at least 50% in candidate lists in PR elections such as European elections and at least 50% of General Election candidates.Taking into account the need to put forward effective candidates, they will work with local/regional parties to try to ensure that female candidates will comprise at least 50% of those selected to stand for winnable seats. A report on the gender balance of candidates and elected members will be included in the GPEx report to conference after each relevant election.
You can find an outline of general Green Party policies on the national website.