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Females: Employment

Question for Women and Equalities

UIN HL591, tabled on 25 May 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Vodafone Lost Connections, published in May; and what steps they are taking to ensure that women do not face increased barriers when returning to work.

Answered on

2 June 2021

I welcome the Vodafone report and the work of others to highlight the barriers some carers and parents face when balancing their care and work responsibilities. I met with female employees from Vodafone in May to hear about which initiatives have worked to support them, especially through the pandemic, and what challenges remain.

The Government recognises the vital role unpaid carers and parents play and has put a range of measures in place to help. In our manifesto we committed to extending the entitlement to leave for unpaid carers to one week. The Government has also funded 25 ‘returner programmes’ to support those with caring responsibilities back to work.

As we look to Build Back Better, increasing the take up of remote and flexible working will give more freedom and opportunity to people with caring responsibilities. In April the Government reconvened the Flexible Working Taskforce, tasking them to help employers build on the lessons we have learned through the pandemic to embed more flexible ways of working.

Strong digital connectivity is crucial in supporting more flexible working. This Government’s delivery of national gigabit connectivity means that today, over two in five premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the Government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage. In rural areas we are investing £5bn to ensure those living in hard-to-reach areas get the gigabit connectivity they deserve.

Answered by

Women and Equalities