Where do all the new potential prime ministers stand on women's equality?

Mordaunt goes further than the rest to set out a pitch to women but, as Dr. Stephenson points out, let’s not forget she also remains in favour of “more of the same” when it comes to “austerity policies combined with tax cuts that got us into this situation, that increased women’s poverty and inequality and made them more vulnerable to both covid and the rising cost-of-living.”

Liz Truss

Blink and you’d have missed it but Truss has actually been Minister for Women and Equalities since 2019. Few could tell you what she’s actually done for women in this time and in 2021, even the Women and Equalities Committee accused her of treating this role as a “side hustle”. As Foreign Sec, she also oversaw the a huge cut to overseas aid as Foreign Secretary which was widely considered to have an unequal impact on women around the world. 

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When it comes to women’s work and safety, there’s no visible evidence she’s tried to shift the dial on the gender pay gap or rape prosecutions. As Uğur says, “just 1.3% of rape reports result in charges being brought”. She “expect[s] the next government to address the crisis of our broken criminal justice system, which is systematically failing survivors”. Unfortunately Truss shows no sign of this being a priority. She did set out plans to introduce a right to flexible working to help those with caring responsibilities but, along with plans to address sexual harassment at work, these proposals were shelved this spring. 

True to form, gender equality is not a meaningful part of Truss’ pitch to be the next Prime Minister. Her launch speech did mention that she would review tax policy so that it’s fairer for people with caring responsibilities and, along with Mordaunt and Badenoch, she has pledged to stick with online safety laws due next year.


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