Theresa May talks to Jenni Murray Woman’s Hour





So Theresa May on Woman’s Hour 14 September 2011 is promising to address women and women’s issues. She who abolished the one body that made sure the government engages with the voices of women, The Women’s National Commission; she who refuses to enforce mandatory pay audits so that companies disclose patterns of pay – without which equal pay become inconceivable; she who refuses to modernise the equal pay legislation and proposes instead voluntary action -  without the Equal Pay Act introduced by Barbara Castle in 1969 there would have been no significant action on the gender pay gap; equal pay has stalled, the gender pay gap is growing.

She who  disabled the equality duties introduced in the dog days of the last Labour government. There will be no significant progress to budge the gender pay gap.


There is no doubt that May’s commitment to improving outcomes for women suffering secxual violence has been a lifeline to rape crisis centres.

Where the oppression of women converges with law and order Tories tend to be braver than when women’s oppression impinges on political economy.

And we know that Theresa May knows the implications of  legal equality duties, the possibility that they may actually make a difference: she  warned government departments in 2010 that they had not implemented their legal duties. Clearly she understood that had  the coalition deficit reduction strategy been disciplined by the equality duties then the cuts could not have scythed through women’s socio-economic wellbeing.


Yvette Cooper’s brilliant arithmetic revealed that around three quarters of the deficit reduction costs would fall to women, and only around a quarter would fall on men.


It made no difference. They ignored their statutory duties.

Fawcett Society undertook a judicial review. It failed. It made no difference.


So, when we listen to Theresa May’s claims that women are in the coalition’s mind we know that they intend to make no difference.


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