The UK has slipped out of the top 20 countries for gender equality in 2014 highlighting that sexism is not a thing of the past . Although there is legislation in place, it is not enforced to the extent that it’s continually effective. Legislation needs to be enforced and, where necessary, extended to ensure that it is helping women.
From politics and the boardroom to The Sun’s page three, it’s evident that modern day sexism is as diverse as it is far reaching. Positive action is necessary and I advocate a statutory enforced group to proactively dip-sample and scrutinise the decision making process in recruitment and promotion across all sectors.
I recognise the good work William Hague has done within Parliament to end sexual violence within conflict. I hope to support this work and the work done within the EU on the same subject.
It’s evident that this needs to start at the top in British politics. When the UKIP political party has more members named David and Steve than women and fewer than one in four MPs across all parties is a woman, then we have a problem.
Black, Minority and Ethnic Communities
With the recent insurgency of far-right movements across Europe, ranging from the National Front to Golden Dawn, I recognise the correlation this has had with racially motivated attacks and the insidious creep of racism. I seek to challenge racist behaviour and threats whilst offering support to black, ethnic and minority groups. This extends to support within the workplace, tackling discrimination that prevents BME workers earning the same as their white counterparts or reaching the same level of their chosen profession. I recognise the need for affirmative action in some cases but only to the extent of the interview process being made accessible to under-represented candidates similar to the Rooney Rule . However I advocate no quota or preference in the hiring of candidates. Much of the legislation is already in place; I feel, however, that it needs to be actively enforced, and, where appropriate, altered.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Communities
I pledge total support to pursuing equal rights for all members of these communities. I hope to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying, creating a positive discourse within schools. I aim to make the current school sex education system less heteronormative and include LGBTQ rights as a core aspect for (PSHE) Personal, Social and Health Education in schools. A recent survey found that 48% of trans people under 26 said they had attempted suicide and 30% said they had done so in the past year with 59% saying they had at least considered doing so . With this in mind, I seek to increase funding for gender identity clinics to prevent massive waiting lists for operations and referrals. I also look to combine this by tackling discrimination within the healthcare system for LGBTQ people.
The current government’s ‘Bedroom Tax’ has disproportionally impacted disabled people. Due to lack of alternative accessible housing, unless it can be proved that constant overnight care is needed, disabled tenants are forced into paying more rent. I am alarmed at the current government’s willingness to inflict this pressure on disabled people. I would also work towards ensuring greater accessibility of public services and transport for those with a disability.
I see the current government’s stance towards human rights as very muddled. Cameron condemns ISIS yet actively trades with the Saudi Arabian government whose track record for public beheadings is far murkier. In 2013 in Saudi Arabia three children were executed and late last year another was sentenced to death, openly contravening the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child . Between 2007 and 2010 345 public beheadings occurred. In the first few weeks of August 2014, 19 people were executed including one man for sorcery and adultery .
I believe that the UK has a duty to enforce human rights on the international stage. I see the lack of condemnation of the Saudi death penalty as a failure of the current government. I propose trade embargoes for breaches of human rights.
I fully support government provision of aid and expertise in crisis areas around the world.