As lockdown slowly and safely lifts across London, we are all glad to be enjoying life again. But we cannot forget the hugely unequal impact the pandemic and the economic consequences it is having on different groups of people.
For example, women are more likely to be furloughed, more likely to lose income or earnings to do home-schooling when schools were closed and, more likely to work in sectors where the recovery is forecast to be slowest.
That’s why, on the anniversary of Labour’s Equal Pay Act, I called on the government to do more to protect and promote gender equality in the recovery from the pandemic.
Research from the TUC in 2021 found that one in four pregnant women and new mums experienced unfair treatment or discrimination at work during the pandemic including being singled out for redundancy or furlough.
Labour would outlaw this kind of discrimination. We want to make it illegal to make a pregnant woman redundant.
This is a simple, robust way to make sure that all new mothers are supported and protected.
Additionally, I’ve called on the government to regularly data on the number of jobs created by their job creation schemes after a group of cross-party MPs voiced concern investment was going mostly to male-dominated industries.
After nearly 18 months of suspension it is also high time the Government reinstated gender pay gap reporting and modernised it to give women the legal right to know what their male counterparts are earnings.
We desperately need to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting to end unequal pay and discrimination for Black, Asian and ethnic minority people.
The world of work must look different after the pandemic and we cannot allow the inequalities exposed and exacerbated by Covid-19 to continue.
Labour is and always will be the Party for gender equality, introducing The Equal Pay Act and The Equality Act.
As we emerge from a very difficult year, I want to make sure all women in South London and across the country are protected against discrimination and that there are equal opportunities for everyone.
I hope the Government takes note and acts swiftly to promote women’s equality.
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