Friday, February 13, 2009

Policy consultation on women's issues

The Liberal Democrats are reviewing their party policy on women's issues and it is now open for comment. You might ask whether it is still necessary to produce policy specifically aimed at women. Jo Swinson MP, the Chair of the Working Group says:

"As Liberal Democrats, we are concerned at the injustices that women face in our society. The last major review of Liberal Democrat women’s policy was in 1995. So the women’s policy working group is welcome and not before time.

The group will, though, also bear in mind questions such as whether special treatment is still needed, and should men have tailored policies too. After all, often when there is inequality for women, men are part of the solution. Focusing solely on one gender won’t work.

The group’s remit cuts across all portfolios. In some areas we already have excellent policy for women, in others there are gaps we must address. Some of the issues we will look at include:
  • Money – pay, pensions, benefits
  • Sex – sexual orientation, abuse, maternity
  • Relationships – work/life balance, carers, family
  • Health & Beauty – body image, health
  • Power – representation, fear of crime, public role models
The questions range from the big picture - Can women really ‘have it all’? Can men? What is ‘it’ anyway and is it worth the effort? - to some specifics such as: How can we best enable mature women to get back into the labour market after a long break? and What alternatives to prison might be appropriate for female offenders?

The Liberal Democrats are committed to opening up the policy process. I am proud of the fact that only in the Liberal Democrats do we have these open policy discussions. There will be a consultation session at Harrogate conference 6-8 March and a final policy paper at autumn conference.

The final decisions on Lib Dem policy are made by conference not the leader. There is a website dedicated to receiving your comments on this (and other policies) here.

At the top of the page there, you can download a copy of the policy paper or get straight into commenting on each section.

If you have any specific comments that you would like to make to me, please email me.


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