Every year, on March 8th, we mark International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the role of millions of women fighting for change throughout the world. It also serves as a call to arms – to highlight the inequalities and injustices that still pervade our society today, and why we have to keep fighting to eradicate them.
It’s 2015, and still we do not have equal pay in this country. It’s been 75 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed but we can still expect to earn over £155,000 less than men over the course of our working lives.
So we will force employers to be transparent about their pay structures, to make it easier for people to pursue equal pay claims. Women are still much more likely to be in low paid work in this country – we will increase the minimum wage to £8 an hour, but we will also look to unpick and challenge the complex reasons behind this.
It’s 2015, and women still only make up 35% of the members of our public boards, and only 28% of all candidates for the General Election.
Scottish Labour will enshrine in law the commitment to 50/50 representation on our public boards.
Women aren't less likely to be elected because they aren't as good, as competent, it's because existing systems are set up for the convenience of those who currently enjoy privilege in our society. Making public life more representative involves understanding that and dismantling the barriers to enable women to compete on an even playing field.
It’s 2015, and still women have sexual and domestic violence perpetrated against them. Every 10 minutes a women reports a domestic abuse incident in Scotland.
No-one should live in fear of violence towards them. That’s why we will create a new Women’s Aid Fund with £2.3million, paid for by increasing the top rate of income tax.
I am proud to be Labour, because it’s Labour that not only understands better than any party the struggle for equality, but is willing to act.
I’m proud to be a member of the party that has introduced gender equality mechanisms to make our Parliaments and our Councils look more like the communities they represent, and I am proud to be a member of the Party that puts gender equality at the heart of its vision for our country.