Analysing Party Manifestos: A Closer Look at Priorities for Women

As election season unfolds, it’s crucial to understand how political parties plan to address the unique challenges and opportunities faced by women. In this blog, we present a balanced analysis of the Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour,  Plaid Cymru, and the SNP manifestos, focusing on their commitments to women's issues. From early years support to women's health and economic empowerment, we delve into each party's vision, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement. Stay informed and get a comprehensive view of what each party has in store for women's progress and equality. Watch this space for the Labour analysis once the manifesto is announced.

Liberal Democrats' Manifesto: A Feminist Analysis

For decades, Fawcett has tirelessly campaigned to reform workplaces for women and make childcare accessible and affordable. The Liberal Democrats' manifesto addresses some of these critical issues, recognising the barriers that prevent women from accessing decent jobs and making steps towards parity in the workplace and beyond. Here’s an analysis of the Liberal Democrats' manifesto points which speak to women’s rights and gender equality.

Transformative Policies for Working Families

The Liberal Democrats' policy package includes:

·       New Right to Flexible Working: This policy aims to ensure that all families can effectively balance work and childcare.

·       Comprehensive Childcare Reforms: These reforms are designed to make childcare more accessible and affordable for families.

·       Increased Maternity and Parental Pay: This measure supports new parents financially during the critical early months of their child’s life.

·       Parental Leave Reforms: Encouraging an equitable sharing of childcare responsibilities between parents is a key focus.

These proposed changes, in areas where Fawcett has long campaigned,  could significantly impact how families manage childcare and careers. Enhancing paid parental leave could make it financially feasible for more women to take leave and, through a portion of leave reserved exclusively for men, encourage them to participate more in childcare.

Universal Childcare and Quality Education

The manifesto includes a commitment to universal childcare, which is crucial for ensuring that all children benefit from early education, particularly those most in need. The focus on quality, with a robust workforce strategy and training to support children with Special Educational Needs, indicates an emphasis on high standards in early education. Should the Liberal Democrats be in power, we would need to see more about how they would ensure proper funding for this important area of social infrastructure.

Transparency and Diversity in the Workplace

Another proposal is to publish gender, ethnicity, and disability pay gaps alongside diversity targets. Transparency in these areas is vital for addressing disparities and promoting inclusive workplaces. This aligns with Fawcett's advocacy for greater accountability and fairness in employment practices.

Ambitious Social Care Reforms

The Liberal Democrats' policy on adult social care is particularly notable. When social services fail, it often falls on women to fill the gaps. The proposed reforms aim to provide better support for both men and women caring for loved ones and ensure fair recognition and pay for those working in social care. This proposal highlights the need for a comprehensive solution to the crisis in adult social care.

Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls

The manifesto includes a commitment to make misogyny a hate crime, a goal for which Fawcett has long campaigned. The proposals to end violence against women and girls include expanding refuge and rape crisis centres and ensuring funding for services that support survivors of domestic abuse, including specialist 'by and for' services.


The Liberal Democrats' manifesto includes proposals on several key issues that Fawcett and its members have long campaigned for, including flexible working, comprehensive childcare reforms, increased parental pay, and transparency in pay gaps. These proposals have the potential to significantly impact gender equality not only in the workplace but in all aspects of women’s lives. Of course, the devil will be in the detail and should the Liberal Democrats get into power, we look forward to working with them to ensure that their proposals deliver for all women.

Conservative Party Manifesto: An Analysis

The Conservative Party's manifesto sets forth crucial priorities for women, yet there's a call for deeper insights into how they'll dismantle obstacles to success for women in their full diversity. Here's a comprehensive review:

Early Years Support

With their groundbreaking commitment to extending free childcare hours from 9 months to school age, the Conservatives made a significant stride. We welcomed the announcement at the time, but continue to call for a broader early years strategy. This should encompass a workforce plan to ensure fair compensation and acknowledgment for early years professionals, a pivotal element for successful implementation.

Women's Health and Safety

The Conservatives' manifesto builds on their pioneering Women's Health Strategy. It includes a new commitment to act on the findings of the inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Birth Trauma to address maternal health. Alongside this, the Conservative Party's acknowledgment of the imperative to combat violence against women is commendable. However, substantial funding is paramount for the realisation of these ambitions.

Economic Empowerment

A notable absence lies in the manifesto's silence on bridging the gender pay gap and fostering women-friendly workplaces to drive economic growth. Strides were made by the preceding government, such as initiatives combating workplace harassment and establishing day-one rights to request flexible working. However, further steps are needed to ensure women are able to thrive in the workplace.


Despite the progress outlined, there's a palpable expectation for the Conservative Party to delve deeper into their strategies for breaking down barriers hindering women's success in all their diversity. As the campaign unfolds, we call on the Conservatives to offer further insights into how these ideas will translate into tangible actions.

Labour Manifesto: A Feminist Analysis

Fawcett continues to set the election agenda, now with Labour promising to put women at the heart of their missions for government. What does that mean in practice? Here's our snap manifesto analysis.

Transformative Commitments for Gender Equality

Labour has taken up Fawcett’s asks to:

  • Expand Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Enhancing transparency and accountability in pay disparities.
  • Ethnicity and Disability Pay Gap Reporting: Addressing broader inequalities in the workplace.
  • Make Flexible Work the Default: Ensuring all jobs can accommodate flexible working arrangements.
  • Review Parental Leave Policies: Evaluating and improving support for parents.

These commitments follow years of campaigning by Fawcett, and we’re delighted to see them included.

Childcare Accessibility

Labour has committed to making childcare more accessible through the creation of new places. However, they stopped short of promising a full childcare strategy and workforce plan, which is disappointing. A comprehensive strategy and robust workforce plan are essential to ensure the sector can deliver quality care.

Modernising Westminster

Our work on women’s representation showed that Westminster’s culture deters women from politics. We're delighted to see Labour commit to a modernisation committee focused on reforming House of Commons procedures. This initiative is crucial for creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for women in politics.

Prioritising Women’s Health

It's past time to prioritise women’s health. We’re pleased to see Labour's targets on closing the Black and Asian maternity mortality gap, though more detail is needed. This commitment is a step towards addressing significant health disparities that affect women of colour.

Tackling Racism and Misogyny

Racism and misogyny have no place in public life. Labour's manifesto includes:

  • Training on Racism and Misogyny for Police Forces: Ensuring law enforcement is equipped to handle these issues sensitively and effectively.
  • Action to Ensure Schools Address Misogyny: Promoting a safer, more respectful environment in educational settings.
  • Further Action to Address Extreme Misogyny Online: Combating the rise of harmful behaviour in digital spaces.

These measures are included in Labour's strategy to end violence against women and girls, reflecting a comprehensive approach to tackling these pervasive issues.


Labour's manifesto addresses several key issues that Fawcett has long campaigned for, including expanded pay gap reporting, default flexible work, and parental leave reviews. While these proposals have the potential to significantly impact gender equality in the workplace and beyond, there are certainly areas for improvement, particularly in childcare strategy.

Plaid Cymru's Manifesto: A Feminist Analysis

Plaid Cymru's manifesto dedicates a chapter to women, which is commendable. But we're disappointed by the lack of emphasis on economic injustice faced by Welsh women and the absence of strong legislative support for women's economic inclusion. Here's our analysis of their key proposals.

Expanding Childcare and Early Years Education

Plaid Cymru has already made strides in expanding childcare in Wales. Their manifesto expresses ambition for free universal early years education and childcare, linked to workforce training. But  the document is light on detail about how these goals will be practically achieved. A clear and actionable plan is essential for ensuring these ambitions are met.

Workplace Rights and Economic Inclusion

Plaid Cymru pledges to support legislation to tackle insecure work, expand day-one rights including for miscarriage, and reform shared parental leave—issues Fawcett has championed. But, the manifesto is silent on the gender pay gap and lacks comprehensive reforms to close this gap meaningfully. Addressing the gender pay gap is crucial for achieving economic equality.

Gender Quotas and Women's Representation

Plaid Cymru supports gender quotas as part of reforms to the Senedd, aiming to ensure Welsh women are actively involved in decision-making. This is a significant step, and our CEO recently gave evidence in support of this policy to the Senedd. Additionally, Plaid Cymru has expressed support for compensation for WASPI women, with amounts ranging from £3,000 to £9,950. This compensation acknowledges the injustices faced by women affected by changes to the state pension age.


While Plaid Cymru's manifesto includes positive steps towards expanding childcare and supporting workplace rights, it falls short in addressing the broader economic injustices faced by Welsh women. The lack of detailed plans and silence on the gender pay gap highlight areas that need further attention. Comprehensive reforms and clear strategies are essential for achieving true economic inclusion and gender equality in Wales.

The SNP's Manifesto: A Feminist Analysis

The Scottish National Party (SNP) Manifesto demonstrates a commitment to stand up for women in the UK Parliament, alongside advocating for devolution to Scotland. Here's our analysis of their key proposals.

Standing Up for Workers

Fawcett’s campaign to close the gender pay gap has been acknowledged, with the SNP making this a clear priority. We're also pleased to see the SNP supporting Fawcett’s call for 'use it or lose it' paternity leave, encouraging men to take on more caregiving responsibilities for young children. This, coupled with wider reforms to maternity pay, highlights the SNP's commitment to gender equality in the workplace.

Expanding Childcare

The SNP has rightly celebrated their role in existing childcare provision in Scotland and are taking steps to expand it further, including raising the wages of childminders. While their Westminster manifesto doesn't cover this in detail, the positive aspects of Scotland's model offer valuable lessons for other nations. Expanding and improving childcare is crucial for supporting working families and promoting gender equality.

Supporting WASPI Women

The SNP has also expressed support for fast, full, and fair compensation for WASPI women. This commitment acknowledges the injustices faced by women affected by changes to the state pension age and aims to provide them with the compensation they deserve.


The policies set out in the SNP's manifesto suggest that they will play a positive voice for women in the UK Parliament. Their focus on closing the gender pay gap, supporting paternity leave, and expanding childcare provision are significant steps towards achieving gender equality. However, as with any manifesto, the effectiveness of these policies will depend on their implementation and the details that emerge over time.

Want to join the Fawcett collective and fight with us for women’s rights through the election period and beyond? Become a member today.