10th May 2022


Today’s Queen’s Speech marks yet another year in which the Government will fail to uphold its commitment to making workplaces fairer for all women.  

Since the 2019 General Election, the Government has made numerous commitments which recognise that there are systemic issues impacting women at work - these issues require ambitious solutions and committed political leadership.  

Throughout the pandemic, inequalities which women face in the workplace have worsened. We are at a pivotal moment, with the world having seen unprecedented upheaval and change in the past two years that has laid bare the inequalities that continue to exist in our society.  

The Government’s rhetoric must be turned into action today. We simply cannot build back better without delivering on these promises. This must include: 

  • Implement a preventative duty and require employers to take all reasonable steps to stop workplace sexual harassment 

Workplaces should be safe for all women, yet we know that at a minimum 40% of women are subjected to sexual harassment in their jobs (this is even higher for women of colour, LGBTQ workers and those with a disability).  

  • Protect women from sexual harassment by their clients, customers and patients 

Employers need to be made responsible for sexual harassment that happens on their watch, whether it’s by their employees or by their customers.  

  • Extend redundancy protections for new mothers  

Currently pregnant women have some protection if their workplace is making redundancies, but this does not apply once new mums return to work when they are still vulnerable to losing out.  

  • Implement neonatal leave and pay  

Families with sick or premature babies are missing out - given how stressful this time is we must ensure these families are given better supports and protection.  

  • Require all employers to offer reasonable flexible working arrangements as a default by practice by making employers advertise jobs with flexibility built in.  

It’s simply not fair that women should have to put themselves at a disadvantage by raising working from home or part-time at interview. Employers need to do the work and suggest these options up front, so everyone is on an even playing field and so women can find the jobs that will work for them.  

Those changes are commitments the Government has made – and we will be fighting to hold them to it. But there is more they must do – making employers report on ethnicity pay gaps, reforming childcare and parental leave systems, and tackling a system that fails menopausal women.  

 There is still time for the Government to deliver and support women by addressing the barriers which women face every day at work. We urge the Government to work with Fawcett and the many other businesses and campaigners calling for change to ensure that their legislative agenda matches their promises so that women and girls can reach their full potential.