Women's Equality Party challenges Cameron and Corbyn over gender pay gap


David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn have been challenged to match their words on gender equality with action, as the Women's Equality Party called on mainstream parties to close a £245 billion pay gap between men and women.

WEP leader Sophie Walker said that men's earnings in the UK totalled £516 billion a year, compared with female pay of just £271 billion, due to women being paid less than their male counterparts, being forced out of work by expensive childcare and having to stay at home to look after children and elderly parents.

Mr Cameron used his high-profile speech to this month's Conservative conference to highlight how his own daughters could face gender discrimination over pay, telling delegates: "You can't have true opportunity without real equality." And Labour leader Mr Corbyn has said Britain will not be a "successful society" until it has equality for women.

But Ms Walker said: "These are good comments. But they're just comments. They've been talking about delivering equality for far too long.

"It seems to me that they are more interested in claiming the right to deliver equality than actually deliver it.

"Where's the action? Their only action is to shoot down any other party's talk about how they might deliver equality - reducing our right to participate to a cynical messaging contest."

Ms Walker was launching her party's policy platform at an event in London, seven months after it was founded by comedian Sandi Toksvig and journalist Catherine Mayer in March.

The WEP leader was expected to say: "Our economy is out of balance - it's time to wake up to the real gender pay gap that sits behind so many of the problems women face.

"Overall, last year men earned £516 billion, while women earned just £271 billion. That's a difference of £245 billion.

"Why? Because millions of women are being paid less than their male colleagues. They are leaving work because they can't afford childcare. They are not returning to work when their children are older because they're now caring for elderly parents They are working in part-time and unstable jobs because they are the only ones that afford them flexibility.

"This all adds up not just to a gap in earnings but a gap in power.

"When British men earn £245 billion more than British women every year, it is no surprise that women have so little say in our society.

"We are here to change that."

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