Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s Minister for Women and Equalities, has launched a UK gender equality roadmap to support women’s empowerment ‘from birth to retirement’.
Women are over three times more likely than men to work part time, limiting their opportunities for advancement and wage increases; and are more likely to work in lower paid roles and sectors. 60% of the UK’s 4.5 million long term ‘informal’ carers are female; women aged between 55 and 64 are 20% less likely to have a private pension, while women in the same age bracket who do have a private pension have on average 40% less wealth in their pension than men. The new UK gender equality roadmap aims to address these wide ranging differences from early years education onwards, beginning with a £2m (€2.23m) pilot scheme teaching primary-aged children about different career options and encouraging girls’ participation in STEM subjects.
Mordaunt said: “I want everyone in our country to be able to thrive in life. That means being able to be in control of the choices you make and have the opportunities you have to seize. We must be honest that many women do not have those choices or opportunities, and as a consequence are not able to be as financially resilient or independent. This inequality is faced at every stage of a woman’s life – from how she is treated in the classroom, to the caring roles she often takes on, and the lack of savings or pension she accumulates. This roadmap is intended to define and guide how we tackle the barriers women face as they journey through life. I’m confident today’s announcement will be the first step in a long-term commitment by this government to empower everyone in this country, helping them truly reach their full potential, from birth to retirement.”
The UK gender equality roadmap includes a relaunch of the Women’s Business Council, which works to eliminate gender pay gaps across all sectors of business and ensure women are afforded the same professional opportunities as men. Fiona Dawson, the new Chair of the Women’s Business Council, said: “The plan announced by the government today gives us a fantastic opportunity to renew the fight for women’s equality, and it will be my immediate priority to ensure that our partners are doing everything in their power to help women progress in the workplace.”