Skip to main content

Women in the Workplace

Volume 704: debated on Wednesday 24 November 2021

To help, support and protect women in the workplace, we intend to build on existing legislation by extending redundancy protections for women after they return from maternity leave, introducing neonatal leave and pay, and introducing one week of unpaid carer’s leave. We are currently consulting on measures to increase the availability and uptake of flexible working.

Earlier this month, I met Kate Seary and Mhairi Maclennan, the co-founders of Kyniska Advocacy, which they set up to campaign for zero tolerance of abuse of women in sport. The growing and welcome professionalisation of women’s sport means that this is no longer just a sporting issue, but an issue of fairness and dignity at work. Does the Minister agree that sports governing bodies have a responsibility to ensure a safe environment for female athletes, and what action are he and the Government Equalities Office taking to ensure that the governing bodies are meeting these responsibilities?

The Sport Minister—the Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Worcestershire (Nigel Huddleston)—is doing a lot of work to ensure that women in sport, and other people, are not getting abuse in their workplace.

Last week I met Stuart and Daphne Anderson at Farnless bison farm in Sedgefield. They are concerned that the rules of succession for tenancy unfairly discriminate against women, affecting their ability to work in the farming industry. Will the Minister meet me to discuss the issue and ensure that he is clear about those concerns?

My colleagues in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are looking at this issue. I will ensure that they hear my hon. Friend’s question and request for a meeting; I am sure that a Minister will be happy to meet him.

As the Minister knows, pay inequality is an intersectional issue—cutting across gender, ethnicity and disability. The Scottish Government are committed to requiring listed public authorities to extend gender pay gap reporting to disability and ethnicity pay reporting, and ensure that these are included in equal pay statements. They will also be required to develop an ethnicity pay strategy, alongside their existing strategies on closing the disability and gender pay gaps. Will the UK Government consider following suit?

So much work has been done on the gender pay gap, as the hon. Lady says, but we are certainly looking at it, and we will report back on what we are doing about ethnicity pay reporting and disability pay reporting.