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Call for general election quotas to boost number of women in parliament

Published 20/10/2015

Women's Equality Party leader Sophie Walker said it is 'time to wake up to the real gender pay gap'
Women's Equality Party leader Sophie Walker said it is 'time to wake up to the real gender pay gap'

Political parties must introduce quotas at the next two general elections to boost the number of women in parliament, the Women's Equality Party has said.

At least 66% of new MPs and 75% of new peers must be female to create balance in both chambers, according to WEP leader Sophie Walker.

Listed companies should also ensure that at least half of their board members are women by 2025, the party recommended.

It also calls for the married tax allowance to be scrapped, with the savings diverted into funding for rape crisis centres.

Government-funded childcare should also be provided for all children at nine months old to help women keep their careers on track, according to WEP.

The policies were unveiled at an event in London, seven months after the party was founded by comedian Sandi Toksvig and journalist Catherine Mayer.

Ms Walker said at least 600,000 women in Britain would prefer to work, if they could afford to do so.

"We want women to realise their potential, and we want to do it by providing a system of childcare that doesn't cost the earth - and doesn't have to be waited for.

"We believe that government-funded childcare should be available for all children from the end of paid parental leave at nine months, and we believe this is a key area for government investment.

"We would fully fund this by introducing a single rate of tax relief on pension savings, which would free up around six-and-a-half billion pounds.

"This supports women as they build their careers and start families, but it also protects women who are low earners and part-time workers to save for their pensions

"By enabling women to earn more, we can enable them to save more.

"Only by doing both can we solve the problem of women's poverty pensions and ensure dignity in retirement for all."

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