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What has Labour done for women?


This International Women's day we are looking back at Labour's record on women's rights. Sadly, many policies introduced by this government are turning back the clock on economic equality for women. Here are some of the things that a Labour government achieved for women:

• Almost every major piece of legislation that has improved the lives of working women has
been introduced by a Labour Government.

• Labour has more women MPs than all the other parties put together and is the only party
to promote the use of All Women Shortlists to ensure better gender representation in

• The Work and Families Act (2006) extended the right to statutory maternity leave to a full
year to all employed women, regardless of length of service.

• These changes shifted the UK right up an international comparison of maternity leave
rights, to the most generous allowance in terms of length of leave allocated exclusively to

• Introduced paternity leave in 2003.

• Worklessness fell during the Labour years, especially among lone parents, for whom the
employment rate rose from 45% in 1997 to 57% in 2010.

• Labour became the first administration since the Second World War to accept state
responsibility for developing childcare policy.

• By 2008 there were more than three times as many nursery places as there had been in

• Introduced legislative protections for women and mothers under the Equal Pay Act, the Sex
Discrimination Act and the Equality Act.

• Flagship policies such as Sure Start and tax credits made a significant difference to the lives
of women, particularly single mothers.

• The gender pay gap reduced by a third under the last Labour government.


Photo credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/Press Association Images

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