To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to implement the recommendations for G7 GEAC in the UK, specifically with reference to (a) targeted pandemic response and recovery plans that take account of the needs of women and girls, (b) strengthened public investment in social care infrastructure, including childcare to tackle gender imbalances in paid and unpaid care work and (c) steps to end violence against women and girls through increased investment in prevention and response and the ratification of relevant conventions.
25 June 2021
The UK is using our Presidency of the G7 this year to champion women’s and girls’ rights at home and around the world, with the independent Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) bringing solutions, expertise and new voices to the heart of G7 discussions.
The GEAC presented its recommendations to G7 Leaders at the G7 Leaders’ Summit this month, with a strong call to action so women can build back better. In the coming months, the GEAC will produce a report setting out their recommendations in further detail.
We have rolled out unprecedented levels of economic support to protect jobs for both women and men, including the Self Employment Income Support Scheme which has received nearly 2.1 million claims from self-employed women, as of January 31 2021. As we look to build back better, we can see that COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to reform our approach to work, and we are committed to further encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default.
We recognise the pressures faced by those balancing work with caring responsibilities, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we know that often the majority of these pressures fall on women. This Government continues to support families with their childcare costs and we have spent over £3.5 billion in each of the past three years on early years entitlements, and last November the Chancellor announced a £44 million investment in 2021-22 for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers. At the election last year, we pledged a new £1 billion fund to create more high-quality affordable childcare, including before and after school and during the school holidays.
We will be publishing a new Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls strategy in 2021 to better target perpetrators and support victims of these crimes, and appointed Nimco Ali OBE as the Independent Government Adviser on Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls.
I will shortly be saying more about the action the Government is taking to ensure women can build back better in the recovery.