Here at Engender, Kate and Emma T have been poring over the political party manifestos to see what commitments are being made to advance women’s equality in Scotland.
Our first port of call was to see how – or if – the party manifestos reflected our key priorities for this general election. A few weeks ago, we asked all parties to commit to the following:
1 - Repeal the ‘family cap’ and all of its exemptions including the ‘rape clause’, and commit to undertaking and acting on a cumulative impact assessment of social security;2 - Include women’s equality and human rights in Brexit negotiations and subsequent bilateral and multilateral foreign relations engagement; and
3 - Maintain the Equality Act 2010, Human Rights Act, and membership of the Council of Europe.
All parties, with the exception of the Conservatives and UKIP, have pledged to abolish the ‘family cap’. Repealing this policy would mean that families who rely on Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit could continue receiving assistance for a third or subsequent child.
Unsurprisingly, things got a little convoluted when we started looking at Brexit and plans for the negotiations. Neither the Conservatives nor UKIP make any reference to women or rights in the context of Brexit. The Labour Party commit to introducing a EU Rights and Protections Bill, which would replace the Conservative Great Repeal Bill and which would protect workers’ rights and equality law in the UK. The Liberal Democrats say that they’ll safeguard protections, such as the right to 52 weeks maternity leave, which is similar to the SNP commit to protect existing rights and the rights of pregnant women and new mothers.
In terms of our third ask, all parties, save for the Conservatives, commit to maintaining the Human Rights Act. The Conservatives pledge to not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while Brexit is underway, but are silent on their post-Brexit plan. On equality law, the Labour Party states that they’ll extend existing protections under the Equality Act to include trans people, and the SNP says that they’ll re-affirm the UK’s commitment to the Council of Europe and to the European Convention of Human Rights. The only party, other than the SNP, to commit to full membership of the Council of Europe is the Women’s Equality Party.
In addition to our three asks, our summary includes what the manifestos say about other key issues relating to women, like social security, employment and pensions, and immigration. Our summary is here, and it highlights what parties have promised to do to promote and entrench women’s equality in the UK and in Scotland.
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