In politics as in life, sexual harassment is a consequence-free crime

Here’s an article I wrote for the New Statesman, published today.

Labour might as well copy Donald Trump’s winning ways and have its politicians “grab a woman’s pussy”.  So jokes Mark Steel.

He needn’t worry – British political parties are already on the case. Continue reading

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Use it or lose it?

The Institute for Fiscal Studies yesterday published a report showing that the 18 per cent gender pay gap steadily worsens once women have children. Alongside better quality part-time jobs, affordable childcare, a living wage and equal pay audits, greater uptake of shared parental leave from fathers would go a long way to closing the gap. Political parties should set out plans to reform shared parental leave, as part of a bold commitment to eradicating the gender pay gap once and for all. Continue reading

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Increasing access to HE – by acting before the age of three

At present, those that access university are, by and large, those that have had the opportunities in life. Official figures show that teenagers from the poorest families are half as likely to enter higher education as those who are more affluent. We still live in a country where the single biggest factor in determining your educational attainment is your mother’s educational attainment. Continue reading

Posted in education, equality, public services | 2 Comments

Too many men: The problem with all-male panels

This was co-written with Jacqui Smith.

Many of us heading to Labour party conference this year received our passes in the post last week. A brief flick through the fringe guide and it is quickly clear that, once again, there is an all-male panel problem.

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Re-framing childcare

Tackling the cost of childcare is incredibly important. But we all need to change our narrative on it.

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Posted in equality, feminism, Labour Party | 1 Comment

Tackling the challenges faced by working women

Women are being routinely failed in their workplaces.

According to the TUC, a woman in work today is earning 15.7% less on average than men. In spite of this, the Government has decided not to fully implement measures passed by the last Labour government, which would have required employers to undertake pay audits, weakening efforts to ensure equal pay in the private sector.  Continue reading

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All-women shortlists: the myths

The recent photo of an all-male government front bench has meant that all-women shortlists have once again been a topic of conversation, this time with suggestions from within the Conservative Party about whether they should adopt them. But the discussion on AWS is still happening in the Labour Party. Continue reading

Posted in equality, feminism, Labour Party, NEC | 3 Comments

Politics: A dirty word?

People feel like politics does not fit into their lives. It’s ‘irrelevant’ and ‘far-removed’: a dirty word.

And when it comes to changing that perception politicians often don’t do themselves any favours. People love a scandal and Westminster gives them plenty to go on. Too often parties turn in on themselves, engaging in internal fights, and too often they take people for granted.

After Russell Brand’s comments about a supposed epidemic of apathy and the ‘benefits’ of not voting, I spoke on BBC Radio 4. Continue reading

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Fighting for gender equality in sport

Despite the fantastic achievements of our sportswomen, women’s sport remains an afterthought. The lack of coverage has more impact than unbalanced column inches. It impacts on women’s participation and has wider implications for women’s equality. Alongside health benefits, participation in sport helps develop life skills, with sporting activity during youth being linked to confidence and career success later in life.

I’m one of the many young women who gave up on sport in my teens. Continue reading

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