Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Lynne Featherstone e-mails members on how Liberal Democrats are delivering for women

Tomorrow is International Women's Day. An event often not truly celebrated by our party because nobody has thought to do anything about it.

Until now.

I was jumping around my kitchen in delight at receiving an e-mail from our Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone which highlights all the things the Government, led by Liberal Democrat initiatives, are doing which benefit women.

If you read the Guardian, you'll get the impression that we are anti-feminist spawn of the devil who take away women's jobs and benefits. Certainly there are some very worrying trends in terms of women's unemployment and some of the welfare changes impact disproportionately on women. However, that's not the whole story. Her e-mail links to a PDF of a 4 page tightly packed document covering all the things, from employment rights, to representation on boards of businesses, to parental leave, to flexible working, to international development and maternal mortality, to domestic violence, that the Government is doing, Lynne Featherstone herself seems to be doing a prodigious amount of it. Anyway, here's Lynne's e-mail in full. I am very, very impressed. A huge pat on the back to the lovely internal comms people. I bet this is Helen Duffett's doing, you know. That woman rocks.

Dear Caron,

As we celebrate International Women's Day tomorrow, I'm proud to represent Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government. I know that our involvement has made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of women in a range of ways.

We’ve got lots to shout about, so please spread the word: blog and tweet about it and forward this email to your friends.

Here’s how we’re delivering for women -
  • When it comes to shielding women in need from the brunt of the economic squeeze, our policy to free the lowest paid from income tax has played a key role in protecting women. Women make up the majority of those on low incomes who will benefit from this key Liberal Democrat policy. 60 per cent of those already taken out of paying tax altogether are women.
  • A new system of shared parental leave will make it easier for women to return to the workforce after having children or acting as a carer.
  • We are providing 260,000 free childcare places for 2-year olds. Having this free childcare enables mothers and fathers to work and help improve the economic prospects of the whole family.
  • Our Body Confidence campaign highlights the negative impact of unrealistic media representations of women and girls' bodies, and takes action to address this.
  • We have published the first cross-government Action Plan on Tackling Violence Against Women & Girls, which allocates £28 million for specialist services in this area
  • We are also taking action internationally to reduce infant and maternal mortality, saving the lives of 50,000 mothers and 250,000 babies.
Read more about these policies, and many others that the Liberal Democrats are delivering in Government for women here.

So, on International Women's Day, there are many reasons for being proud of what we've achieved together. I hope you will join me in continuing to fight for equal opportunities for women and girls both in the UK and worldwide - there is still a lot to be done.

Best wishes

Lynne Featherstone MP
Minister for Equalities

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