We hope to inspire a new and inclusive socialist feminist theory and practice that will motivate a new generation of women activists and revitalise the fight for women’s liberation. One of the ways of doing this is to unite around a campaigning programme. This is the purpose of the Charter for Women.
It does not offer new policy but instead seeks to bring together the key demands for which progressive women are fighting in various arenas. The charter covers three broad areas, social policy, the labour market and the labour movement. It raises the main progressive concerns/ campaigning points under each heading. We want it to be discussed, adopted and promoted by all progressive women’s groups and organisations.
- Highlight the feminisation of poverty and campaign to reverse cuts in welfare state and public services.
- Expose the ideologies that are used to perpetuate women’s inequality (for example, the notion of “family values” and the “family wage”).
- Draw attention to the role of the media and other cultural agencies in shaping gender identities that reinforce the unequal relationships between men and women.
- Campaign for greater support for lone mothers, carers and women subjected to domestic and other violence.
- End the oppression of Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans women
- Improve access and rights to abortion.
- Ensure that women and girls are entitled to the full range of free and high quality educational provision (from nursery to university) and subject choice.
- End women pensioner poverty by paying men and women equal State Pensions and restoring the link to average earnings or prices, whichever is the higher
- Campaign to end institutional and other forms of racism and ensure that the status and pay of Black women workers is a bargaining priority.
- Campaign to reduce the gender pay gap and highlight its causes
- End job segregation by improving training and opportunities for women.
- Ensure that unions fight more equal value claims.
- Campaign to change equal pay law to permit “class action” (group claims) and remove employer “get out” clauses.
- Campaign to raise the level of national minimum wage to at least half, and rising to at least two-thirds of male median earnings.
- Demand statutory pay audits.
- Equalise opportunities and improve conditions for women workers.
- Demand full-time right for part time workers.
- Root out bullying and sexual harassment.
- End casualisation and especially zero hours contracts.
- Reduce job segregation by providing training opportunities for women in non-traditional areas.
- Campaign for affordable child care including pre-school, after-school and holiday provision.
- Campaign for a shorter working week for all.
- Improve maternity leave and pay, including paid paternity leave.
- Campaign for a change in the qualification criteria in the Industrial Injuries/Disability Benefit scheme, to end discrimination against women and in particular to extend the list of disorders in the prescribed disease schedules.
In the labour movement
- Tackle the under-representation of women in the labour and trade union movement structures by proportionality and other measures.
- Ensure the accountability of women’s structures to women.
- Maintain and extend women’s committees, women’s courses and other measures to ensure that women’s issues/concerns are collectively articulated and actioned.
- Campaign to raise the profile of the TUC, STUC and Welsh TUC’s women’s conferences as the “parliaments of working women”.