I delivered a speech on the gender pay gap during the women and equalities debate at the Labour Party Conference. Here is the speech:
From the 7th November until the end of 2014, women across the country, and the women in this room, will effectively be working for free.
The fact that women are paid on average 15% less than their male counterparts means that I have to work 60 extra days to earn the same amount as a man doing the same job.
I’m proud to be part of the labour movement that fought for equal pay for equal work and introduced the minimum wage. From the women at the Ford factory in Dagenham to the 2010 Equality Act, we’ve been chipping away at the glass ceiling. In fact, we’ve been chipping away at it even for the forty four years since the Equal Pay Act was passed.
Conference, it’s time to smash that ceiling once and for all. Because if we don’t – no one will. The Tories just don’t get it. Any illusion that David Cameron’s policies are good for ordinary women has surely disappeared. The gender pay gap has widened over the past 4 years and women in Britain can’t afford another 5 years of the Tories.
We desperately need a Labour government, a government which has radical plans for tackling gender pay inequality:
- Equal pay audits for all employers
- Ending unfair fees for employment tribunals
- A living wage for all.
We need a Labour government that recognises that a WOMAN teaching your child maths should be paid the same as a MAN teaching your child maths. That recognises that the only way we will have a flourishing economy is by having an economy in which women’s work is valued for what it is.
Conference, let’s not apologise for being demanding the Labour government that women deserve. Let’s not apologise for daring to set the bar high but rather let’s work together, as Labour, as women, to smash that glass ceiling together and not stop until that most fundamental principle of equal pay for equal work is made true.