What’s in store for women under the new government

The electorate has cast its vote and the ballot papers have been counted. Much to everybody’s surprise, the coalition deals and expected hung Parliament have not materialised. The Conservative Party won 331 seats and is able to form a majority government.

For this 2015 General Election, Fawcett has been closely scrutinising the parties’ manifestos. So we are well placed to now delve a bit deeper into where a Conservative government might close the inequality gap.

We look to the Conservative Party’s Manifesto to find out what it’s promised to do for women and the policy areas they must uphold.

Specific pledges on women

  • Representation: Increase the proportion of public appointments going to women in the next Parliament, as well as the number of female MPs.
  • Mental health and pregnancy: Ensure women have access to mental health support during and after pregnancy and strengthen the health visitor programme for new mothers.
  • Violence against women: Work with local authorities, the NHS and Police and Crime Commissioners to ensure a secure future for specialist female genital mutilation and forced marriage units, refuges and rape crisis centres.
  • Prisons: Improve treatment of women offenders, exploring how new technology may enable more women with young children to serve their sentence in the community.
  • Hate crimes: Review legislation governing hate crimes, including the case for extending the scope of the law to cover crimes committed against people on the basis of disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
  • Sport: Lift the number of women on national sports governing bodies to at least 25% by 2017, and seek to increase participation in sport by women and girls
  • Global challenges: continue promotion and protection of women’s rights overseas, driving forward the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative.
    • Promote girls’ education, encourage equal access to property rights and work to achieve access to family planning for ‘everyone who wants it’.
    • Tackle violence against women and girls, end FGM and combat early and forced marriage, at home and abroad.

While these are important steps specifically targeting women, we maintain that there are no women’s ‘issues’: all areas of government policy and legislation affect the lives of women and their families.

Research has shown that women do have slightly different priorities from men, as highlighted by the recent Woman’s Hour, ASDA Mumdex and Mumsnet surveys. Using these, as well as Fawcett’s priorities of closing the power and income gap, we have examined in more detail the areas of employment, taxes and benefits, housing, childcare, and democracy and representation.

Read our detailed analysis on these areas to find out more:

Conservative Manifesto promises 2015

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