Statement from Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister of Women and Equalities
The 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day is an important milestone and a good opportunity to reflect on women’s progress throughout the world.
Here at home, Labour in government supported women in all aspects of life. We introduced Britain’s first ever national minimum wage, helping many women on low pay. We doubled the level of maternity pay, increasing the period of paid leave from 18 weeks to nine months and introduced the first ever system of paternity and adoption leave.
We introduced the right to request flexible working for those with caring responsibilities, whether of children, older adults or children with disabilities and we introduced pioneering All Women Shortlists, to increase the proportion of female Members of Parliament.
I’ve always assumed that every generation of women will enjoy greater opportunities than the last. But for the first time, I worry about the next generation of women because this government’s over rapid deficit reduction plans are hitting women much harder than men.
Women lose around £8.80 per week compared to men losing around £4.20 per week due to the combined tax, benefit and tax credit changes in the Emergency Budget and Spending Review. And these figures don't include the extra cost of VAT
That’s why, as we celebrate 100 years of progress, we must come together to protect what generations of women before us have fought for.
I look forward to continuing to work with key bodies such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission, as well as women’s organisations, communities and individuals, to ensure that women’s equality is not rolled back.
Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP
Shadow Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality
Last Updated: 08 Mar 2011