Saturday, 30 April 2016

Pushing for gender equality

I have been on a panel at three hustings for the Scottish Parliament's Elections 2016 which have involved a women only audience. Women-only hustings can help to involve women in political discussions, building their skills and confidence to join in debates and ask questions of candidates. I have found that women-only events assist in building a supportive community of women interested in politics. For women with experience of domestic abuse or hate crimes, women-only hustings can provide a safe space to raise their concerns.

When speaking about Scottish Green Party policies, I have highlighted key priorities that aim to demonstrate real commitment to tackling both gender and wealth inequality in Scotland, as the two are closely linked.

Scottish Greens support the introduction of a Gender Equality Bill. Gender inequality is deeply entrenched in Scotland’s economy, politics and culture. There has been some progress, but diverse groups of women, including disabled women, refugee women, unpaid carers, older women and lone parents still experience discrimination, poverty and insecurity. A Gender Equality Bill would help to drive progress for women’s equality.

We recognise the damage wealth inequality is having on Scotland's people and communities. The tax proposals from the Scottish Greens are put forward to both raise revenue and reduce the wealth gap between the richest and poorest in society.  This involves a higher rate of tax of 60p in every pound for those earning over £150,00. Those earning less than £26,500, which is more likely to be women, pay less. Those who can afford it, like our MSPs, will pay a bit more in the pound to protect and invest in the public services we all care about and use every day. 

There is also a commitment to improve the lives of women through valuing paid and unpaid care work - traditional women’s work that is often unpaid, always underpaid and under valued. Care work is essential for our society and economy. Better conditions are needed for both professional care workers and unpaid carers attending to family and friends. We must seek wider recognition of Scotland’s carers and push for increased financial and practical support.

Social care workers do hard and vital work in people’s homes, care homes and every community. They are employed in one of the lowest paid sectors, which fuels the gender pay gap. To bring about the much needed change, all care and support workers should be paid significantly above the Living Wage. Scottish Greens are proposing a living wage plus of £9 an hour minimum wage for people who are employed as social care staff. Not only will this improve the lives of people in the care sector, it will also help to improve the quality of care provided to people.

We are also pushing for a 50% increase in carers allowance to improve the lives of unpaid Carers, again often women. We need a better deal for carers. Power to increase Carers Allowance will soon be devolved to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Greens are campaigning for a 50% increase in payments to £93.15 per week.

Also, there is a commitment to create a new ‘Women in the Media’ watchdog to tackle sexism and stereotyping of women and girls. The new body is needed to stop the profoundly negative impact of how females are portrayed in the media.

A better Scotland, and a better Scotland for women, needs a bolder Holyrood.

Useful link:

Scotland Can Achieve Gender Equality - 

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