A strangely unmusical posting for a Tuesday this may be, but with the June 4th elections mere days away, those on the fence vis-a-vis where to place their feminist cross in the ballot box may appreciate the following rigorously cut-and-paste job in answer to the question on everyone’s lips: which party is the best for women’s rights?
Their website says: [They] introduced the National Minimum Wage – two thirds of the beneficiaries are women and it has played a part in narrowing the pay gap. Some unsubstantiated guff about ‘delivering a cultural change to ensure equality for all’, and the aim of ’empowering black and ethnic minority women to build cohesion within their communities and as a bridge between communities’.
EYS says: there’s no arguing that the Labour party are at least superficially committed to the equality of women, with a relatively high proportion of prominent female MPs and members of cabinet. Their track record on LGBT rights is also commendable (civil unions, anyone?). Unfortunately, hailing the fact that so many women are now on minimum wage doesn’t really cut it as a feminist triumph; their vague gestures towards ‘cultural change’ appear completely unsubstantiated; and their re-election after the expenses scandal/illegal war/creation of spin culture is about as likely as hen’s teeth.
Their wesbite says: a great deal more than Labour’s, unfortunately. The Conservatives lay out a 5-point plan on women’s rights, namely women in the workplace, vulnerable women, women in their communities, women and ethnicity, and women in international development, with at least an outline of relevant policy. There is also a link to the Conservatives’ equal pay campaign.
EYS says: David Cameron has certainly paid someone to tick the right boxes. The Conservatives have a rather odd relationship to women’s rights, their social policies being traditionally an unlikely refuge of the feminist, but being at the same time the only party to produce a female prime minister. It’s also noteworthy that the Tories have repeatedly voted against equal rights for lesbian mothers, which suggests there’s still a wolf lurking amongst the shiny new paddock.
Their website says: nothing about women that I could find on the toolbar. A search on the site for ‘women’ resulted in a page brings back a message saying ‘we’re sorry, but something went wrong’.
EYS hopes: that isn’t their actual policy.
Their website says: the most about their vision for the equality of women. In fact, they have a website dedicated to women’s issues in the Green party. Plans for action include increasing the number of women in Westminster and Brussels, as well as ensuring a 40% female presence on the boards of major companies. The Greens would carry out pay audits to monitor and regulate the pay gap, and introduce a ‘citizen’s income’ for women who choose to stay at home and bring up children.
EYS says: an impressive amount of detail, but much depends on your opinion of positive discrimination. Personally, I’d prefer a society in which companies weren’t forced to hire women to managerial posts; however, it may be worth it purely for the hope that the Daily Mail combusts itself to cinders with rage. Another policy of the Greens which smacks of well-meaning but ultimately misguided liberalism is their controversial plan to decriminalise prostitution; those feminists worth their radical salt will be concerned with the message which this sends out re: the normalisation of rape culture and the commodification of the female body in mainstream society.
I won’t even give the BNP the oxygen of publicity, since they have thieved enough actual oxygen already; suffice to say their London leader has been quoted as saying that rape is “simply sex”, and since “women like sex”, rape is only as bad as “force-feeding someone chocolate cake”. Oh the irony that this bunch of asswipes bang on about deporting ‘foreigners’ back to their ‘home countries’ when clearly they themselves should be returned with all haste back to the Planet of the fucking Apes.