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MP Ellie Reeves addresses inequality issues in International Woman’s Day speech

PUBLISHED: 16:30 08 March 2018

MP Ellie Reeves addressed inequality in a Parliament speech. Picture: George Oates

MP Ellie Reeves addressed inequality in a Parliament speech. Picture: George Oates

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To mark international Women’s Day, Labour MP for Penge and Lewisham West, Ellie Reeves, addressed the issue of inequality in the workplace.

In a speech in Parliament, Ms Reeves acknowledged the progress that has taken place over the last 100 years, but also highlighted the issue of continued inequality.

Speaking of her time as an employment rights lawyer, she said: “I saw women being demoted or dismissed after returning from maternity leave, employers placing unnecessary barriers for flexible working and women being paid less than men for doing work of equal value.”

According to the Office for National Statistics in 2017, the UK gender pay gap was 18.4pc.

It was also found that 70pc of chief executive, senior officials and managerial roles were held by men.

Further research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills found that around 54,000 new mothers are forced out of their jobs in Britain each year, with 77pc of mothers saying they had a negative or discriminatory experience before, during or after their maternity leave.

Ms Reeves added: “A cultural shift in the workplace is needed whereby stereotypes about women being a burden on business and the assumption that they alone will be responsible for childcare duties are ended.

“This can in part be achieved through policy such as the introduction of non-transferable paternity leave paid at a rate closer to actual earnings and the extension of protections from redundancy for pregnant women and women on maternity leave to cover the 12-month period after a new mum returns to work.”

Closing her speech, Ellie welcomed the announcement by shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, Dawn Butler, of Labour’s plans to help close the gender pay gap.

She said: “We have achieved so much over the last few decades but we must end the gender pay gap once and for all, make flexible working the norm and promote shared caring responsibilities.

“Only then will we achieve true gender equality at work.”

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