Will government’s family-friendly plans win back women?

14 Sep

I applaud the intention, but I’m not sure about the proposals in practice: I find the leaked document from the UK coalition government on strategies to win back the waning female vote rather a defensive move. Why are women suddenly the focus? Because they need to “up their game” to counteract declining approval levels for the coalition among women, which have fallen to 25% (8% lower than for men).

A Polly Curtis exclusive in The Guardian reveals that the proposals include banning advertising to children, criminalising forced marriage, and revising the child benefit system to help parents during the early years. However, there are three areas that catch my attention:

Firstly, they propose setting up a website for women to compare their salaries with other people in their sector (all done confidentially). Could this help with equal pay? If it allowed men and women to compare with each other then maybe.

Secondly, they want to hold a summit for women in business at  Downing Street. Good idea, but why aren’t they doing it anyway, rather than being on the back foot about it?

Thirdly, the plan to reduce school summer holidays to help working parents seems as though they’ve totally missed the point. Yes, school holidays are long, and can certainly be boring for children, and take consummate juggling skills from working parents. But rather than burden schools with longer terms, surely the point here is to offer more affordable, accessible and available childcare? Now that is something worth voting for.

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