Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, has stated that while a battle was won by women 100 years ago when they gained the right to vote, the war on gender equality is far but over. His comments come on the day of the centenary of women’s suffrage (6th February 2018), and a day after the Institute for Fiscal Studies published findings that women earn an average of 20% lower per hour worked than men.
Mr Zeichner said: “On the centenary of votes for women, it is important to recognise that while we have clearly made some fundamental achievements in women’s rights, the work on gender equality is far from over, both here and abroad.”
“Women make-up just over 50% of the population but they remain to be absent from the boardrooms of big corporations and are under-represented in Parliament. I want to see more legislation to enhance women’s rights and greater scrutiny over the institutional structures that prevent them from climbing up the ranks at the same pace as men, and from earning an equal day’s pay.”
“The findings by the IFS that women continue to earn an average of 20% less than men per hour worked may not be much of a surprise to many however we need to start being serious about how to tackle this discrepancy. The release of private and public gender pay gap information this April will shine some much needed light on some of the worst offenders but this needs to be a thing of the past, and quickly!”
Mr Zeichner went onto say: “We must remember that while the centenary marks 100 years of women suffrage, the 1918 Act of Parliament was limited in that it only granted the vote to 40% of women. Men still held enhanced voting rights and that in itself is a distasteful reminder that the rights of women can too easily be undervalued. We must remember the huge sacrifices that women have made for gender equality and continue to champion their cause for future generations to come”
Today's centenary marks the franchising of women for the first time in the UK, which was the result of almost 50 years of campaigning by groups, including the Suffragettes, calling for women to be given the right to vote. It is a monumental anniversary in British democracy, despite women not gaining equal voting rights to men at that time. It would be another 10 years before both men and women would be granted equal voting rights through the 1928 Equal Franchise Act.