Pro-family policies damage women’s equality

The government’s pro-family policies designed to help working parents may be damaging the cause of women’s equality, a campaign group has claimed.

Improved maternity leave and the right for mothers to request part-time working have reinforced the notion that women should be primarily responsible for caring, the Fawcett Society said.

By making it easier for mothers to combine employment and work at home, without providing equal impetus for fathers to do the same, these policies have entrenched the idea that this juggling act is solely a woman’s responsibility, the report claims.

The report also says the government’s emphasis on work as the key route to citizenship has increased the income gap between highly educated, well-paid women and poorly qualified, low-paid women.

The report, Money, Money, Money: Is it still a rich man’s world? calls for the government to do more to engage men in caring and unpaid work and to set targets for the reduction of the pay gap.

It also recommends that companies be required by law to conduct a pay audit to ensure that women are not paid less than men for work of equal value.

This will be one of the key recommendations of the government’s Women at Work Commission’s interim report, which will be published tomorrow.

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