The effect of policy decisions on women

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Birmingham

“There are two striking things about politics, management and workplaces in 2016, these are the effects of policy decisions on women, and women’s effects on policy decisions.”

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There are two striking things about politics, management and workplaces in 2016, these are the effects of policy decisions on women, and women’s effects on policy decisions.

Firstly, with regard to the effect of policy decisions on women, the British Government is required, mostly by the European Union rather than local law, to consider the potential for differential effects of policy change to any aspect of economic life. This includes workplace management practice, legislation and pensions. This progressive requirement is the result of decades of activism and lobbying, mostly by people working for feminist principles. The British umbrella group ‘A Fair Deal For Women’ has recently intervened in this continuing struggle, to hold the UK government to account in this area.

Secondly, we need to consider women’s effects on policy decisions. Many in the UK and in the Conservative Party in particular, are self-congratulating on the elevation of another woman to the Prime Minister’s office. This is especially striking in a year when many commentators in the US attribute Hillary Clinton’s failure to become the first woman to serve as US president to sexism and misogyny. However, women continue to play a very secondary role in UK (29% House of Commons) and US politics (around 25%), in terms of numerical representation and in terms of cultural acceptance.

This autumn budget can definitely address the first of these issues; the second will take more than just a budget statement to change.

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