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"Secret" government plans to "win back women"...

(164 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 14-Sep-11 12:29:41


Apparently, the Coalition has "secret plans to win back women" by, among other things, cutting school summer holidays, overhauling child benefit and banning advertising to under-16s.

What do you think?

Would plans like this win you back - if, indeed, you ever went away?

BellaneyMimphus Wed 14-Sep-11 12:34:12

I think a government which thinks its policies are only "seen" to have hit women hardest isn't fit for power, since plainly their policies have hit women hardest and being fobbed off with a summit for women in business or a discussion of mayoral roles for women is not going to cut the mustard.

The thing about shorter summer holidays is a pile of steaming dung, and they know it. Can you imagine the backlash from teaching unions if this were mooted? Personally I think it's a good idea for educational reasons to have an overhaul of the academic year and to cut holidays by a couple of weeks at least - don't think teachers would take it lying down though.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 14-Sep-11 12:36:50

How about "winning them back" by not making us redundant in the first place, and ensuring that we are properly represented, and paid equally.

You know, and not being giant bastards.

niceguy2 Wed 14-Sep-11 12:43:02

Let's be frank, teaching unions don't like any change other than fat payrises with no strings attached.

Front loading child benefit sounds interesting but the costs of working all this out I suspect would far outweigh the costs of means testing, something the govt rejected as too costly when scrapping it for higher rate tax payers. It would be interesting to see how they defend that one.

Sounds like a lot of political bluster to me which will amount to nothing.

WideWebWitch Wed 14-Sep-11 12:50:32

Banning ads will never get passed, too many powerful interests will lobby hard to stop that happening

cutting summer holidays, hmm, why's that a women's issue? Oh, I know, because children are WOMEN'S work, I seeee. Child benefit they've already had a go at so I can't see how that's going to be great. Unless it's a 'give with one hand, take away with the other, see how great we are' policy.

I think it would help if they weren't cutting services that matter (eg, SN provision, respite etc), expecting people to get their families and friends to help out in the absence of decent government (Big Society is a Big Pile of Shite and we're so not in it together) and using an ipatronise app to come up with 'secret plans'.

YaMaYaMa Wed 14-Sep-11 12:51:20

I absolutely despise this govt for the changes that have impacted families and women in particular. I would never in my life vote for for the Convservative party anyway but Nick Clegg has ensured that I will never vote for the Lib Dems, not matter what cynical, hackneyed, patronising, bullshit ploy they attempt to use.

They could start, though, with increasing the help with childcare costs that they reduced which would enable more women to work in the crappily paid jobs that they want us in. They could stop messing about with the completely sane and balanced legislation about abortion that we currently have. They could reintroduce the baby element of tax credits that they removed. They could stop bullshitting about rape sentences in order to generate headlines. I could go on, but why bother?

So no, there is nothing that this govt could possibly do to reverse the damage they have done. That's how pretty much every single woman I know feels too.

Right just read the article.

The ideas read like a bunch of entitled men have sat in a room and gone, now those women, what would they like.

First thoughts -

They are still making childcare the woman's responsibility. Why should advertising to under 16s and shorter school holidays be enticing just to women? Surely if there was an even playing field then it should be enticing to all.

"Allowance to shop around for maternity services". How about just properly funding the local maternity unit so women know they have local access to a decent service. Let me scream it again GIVE WOMEN A DECENT LOCAL SERVICE NOT THE CHOICE TO TRAVEL TO ANOTHER TOWN!!

"front loading child benefit to help with childcare" unless, of course you're a professional woman in a professional job who needs full time childcare, but will be losing her child benefit, so gets nothing. Well done.

I have some better ideas to win back women.

Don't have another think tank mooting the temp suspension of maternity rights at the same time as wanting to "win back women" - that makes you look like weasely knobbers.

Make employment law tighter so women are truly given the same pay and opportunities as men.

Do something to redress the appalling way that victims of rape are treated and to improve successful prosecutions.

Get a better balance of women in the government so we're properly represented.


steamedtreaclesponge Wed 14-Sep-11 12:54:20

They'd need to do a hell more than that to win me back. Not that I was ever there in the first place, mind you.

Totally agree with WWW - why are school holidays only an issue for women? Speaks volumes about them that they think this is a good idea.

steamedtreaclesponge Wed 14-Sep-11 12:55:31

And everything that Never said. I do think that a much higher representation of women in parliament would help.

WideWebWitch Wed 14-Sep-11 12:59:11

Good post neverknowingly

LilyBolero Wed 14-Sep-11 13:08:52

School holidays - they should leave the long summer holiday, it is invaluable for children's development, and I love having the time with my kids, and they NEED time to really wind down from school. What's more, if they cut it to 2-3 weeks, every family in the country would be trying to go on holiday at the same time, would be a nightmare!

Child benefit - front loading it is insane, the kids cost far more as they get older! Even without activities etc, which are a choice, things like shoes get ever more expensive, they need uniform for school etc.

2 things they could do that would impress me;
Child benefit should be a paid benefit up to a certain income, and then should be a tax allowance, as recognition that your salary has to stretch further if you are supporting children. This insanity of taking it away from families on 42k, but families retaining it up to 80k, depending on dual/single incomes is just crazy.

Tax allowances should be transferable between parents. It makes no sense that one pays 40% when the other has no income. That really would open options up too.


Abgirl Wed 14-Sep-11 13:20:17

Yes I agree they should be considering policies that will benefit families as a whole, rather than considering family issues as women's issues.

Hate the idea of cutting the summer holidays - it's the one point in the year when as a professional working woman I get to spend longer than a week with my kids.

LemonDifficult Wed 14-Sep-11 13:36:48

Banning advertising to under-16s would be good. Encouraging schools to reduce homework for primary pupils would also be good. Tax breaks for childcare. Not sure these should be relevant to 'women' though, more 'parents in general', but I guess it would all be to the good.

I think school holidays are lovely so I'm against that one.

StrikeUpTheBand Wed 14-Sep-11 13:44:11

I fail to see why cutting summer holidays would win women back. Especially women who are teachers (like myself for example!). The child benefit thing could work, but honestly it all looks like they have gone "Uh-oh, we don't look like we are pleasing women voters - quick think of some half-arsed ideas that might benefit women...!"
In short, no I do not believe anybody is fooled into thinking they now have women's interests at heart any more than before.

kelly2000 Wed 14-Sep-11 13:49:19

I think the fact that shortening the holidays to make childcare easier, not advertising to children and sorting out childbenefit are seen by the tories as women friendly says a lot about how they view women and our place in society.

We apparently should not worry our pretty little heads about when we will withdraw from Iraq, and Afghanistan, unemployment, the NHS, crime, policing numbers, trident etc, we should only worry about children related issues and leave the important issues for men! What next making the ballot paper pink with pictures of kittens to encourage us to vote?

Oh and a government that has a minister that believes only some rapes are serious and involve unwilling women, and that campaigners only brought up sentancing for rapists because it added sexual excitement to the conversation really need to take a good long hard look at themselves before issuing their "women friendly" policies.

edam Wed 14-Sep-11 14:02:16

Oh, so they've noticed that women aren't stupid and might actually have realised 9/10ths of the coalition policies hurt women and children hardest, have they? hmm

What would win me back? A proper gender audit of ALL existing and any proposed policies (they broke the law by not doing this with the budget, according to the Fawcett Society). And then plans to redress the balance - e.g. sacking public sector workers affects women more than men, since something like 3/4 of all people employed in the public sector are women. So either change the plans or come up with some way to ameliorate them.

Also, a new law forcing companies to do equal pay audits. We still don't have equal pay, estimates are it might take 70 years, and companies either don't realise they are discriminating or don't care because pay information is kept secret so people don't find out. Equal pay audits would remove concerns about confidentiality and ensure companies have to take the issue seriously. And any woman who suspected her company was discriminating, even inadvertently, would have the evidence she needed to raise the issue rather than having to go to a tribunal.

Drop the stupid plans to stop legal aid for victims of domestic violence - which includes the need to have a criminal conviction or civil court order before you get legal aid, bizarrely. Try and listen to womens' groups and take their concerns seriously rather than patronizing and ignoring them. (And I'm talking about perfectly middle of the road groups, not the more radical ones that may not be natural partners for the Toires.)

Drop the provisions in the Legal Aid Bill that would abolish aid for clinical negligence. Some of the biggest pay-outs are for birth injury. Babies left with life-long disability will not receive a penny in compensation under the 'reforms' - which is a. cruel and b. stupid because the parents will end up on benefit and the family will have to rely on social services for support, and be unable to afford equipment or adapt their homes.

Basically, stop being nobbers, look at all your policies and think 'does this hit women and children more than men?' and LISTEN to women who make represenations rather than smugly patting us on the head and telling us to run along now, there's a dear.

MilaMae Wed 14-Sep-11 14:02:16

Jesus how sad,does nobody actually give a fig about children and their needs these days?

Kids need the holidays,cutting them to save parents hassle and money is quite frankly appalling.

Most kids I know would rather not do longer hours at school and spend more time with their parents.

Sooooo many women I know want to spend far more time at home with their children but because of rising costs,CB cuts,tuition fees in the future etc they're forced out to work longer hours than they would like.It would be nice if making it easier to stay at home would be given some consideration.

I despair that to make up for money lost in CB the gov thinks ok kids can pay for it by being in school more and making it easier for parents financially and timewise.

This gov clearly don't give a stuff about parents or their children,crap like this just highlights it even more.

BumptiousandBustly Wed 14-Sep-11 14:04:59

Some of this makes me so angry - when I had my first child, I was left for so long alone, in labour that something could have really gone wrong - for my second child I personally paid for a doula as I was too scared to go in to hospital without one - I didn't want a "personal budge" I just wanted enough midwives.

With regard to the child benefit - the fact that families who earn 42,000 with one person won't get it but with two people earning up to 80K will get it, doesn't discriminate against women, it discriminates against stay at home parents.

Either recognize us as a family - and transfer my tax allowance to my husband (or at least recognize 42K is less than 80K) that or make child care affordable enough that if I go back to work, my whole salary won't be eaten up by childcare.

I frankly can't economically benefit my family at the moment - and its horrible. All the bills are going up - DH's salary (public sector) is going down, and I would love to contribute to the family - but there is no point in going back to work, as the salary I would earn, wouldn't cover childcare! AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGG.

So don't give me any crap about female mayors! Who the F cares!

edam Wed 14-Sep-11 14:09:16

Makes me angry too. The idea that a government that is knowingly attacking victims of domestic violence and rape, and sacking loads of women, can suddenly go 'hey guys, the little ladies seem to be a bit upset, let's do some fluffy stuff to keep them happy' is just incredibly insulting.

breadandbutterfly Wed 14-Sep-11 14:09:44

Great post, LilyBolero.

Like others, I couldn't ever be won back as I was never there in the first place. But I know so many v fucked off women with all recent Coalition policies.

They need to reverse child benefit cut for higher earners, or at the v least, make it more logical.

BellaneyMimphus Wed 14-Sep-11 14:10:23

So, this is going well, isn't it? grin

BumptiousandBustly Wed 14-Sep-11 14:11:43

I also think the point about legal aid for negligence is REALLY important, if the birth goes wrong, you need that support for the child, for the rest of their life. How else can you possibly cope, especially as they are cutting all the NHS support services.

missorinoco Wed 14-Sep-11 14:14:24

I find this very patronising. Have only skimmed the answers above, so suspect this has been duplicated, but anyway.

The fact they think changing school holidays and child benefit will win back women underlies the inherent sexism and gender inequality. These measures should win back families, not women.

AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH! sums it up quite well. They have now lost an ambivalent voter.

Bumptious, see the UNICEF report and pat yourself on the back. From their not-that-well-researched study/survey if you go back to work and manage to break even after child care (nearly but not quite an oxymoron these days) you wil be buying off your children with materialistic goods and therefore should go back to Go without collecting £200 on the Monopoly Board of Life.

mercibucket Wed 14-Sep-11 14:15:04

These measures have obviously been dreamt up by some frustrated men who need a good shagging but are too pig ugly to get it. Someone should tell the poor dears to calm down

mercibucket Wed 14-Sep-11 14:15:04

These measures have obviously been dreamt up by some frustrated men who need a good shagging but are too pig ugly to get it. Someone should tell the poor dears to calm down

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