International Women’s Day - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:47 pm on 7th March 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development) 2:47 pm, 7th March 2019

No, we will not—to eradicate it completely in the UK, and much longer globally. We have to do better.

We have committed £5 million in funding to help people return to work after time out for caring and to find jobs that use their valuable skills and experience. In addition to the initial £5 million fund we established for returners in 2017, a further £500,000 has been provided to support those with additional barriers to participating in the labour market. This may include people with complex needs or multiple barriers, such as substance abuse or homelessness. We have gone even further, and an additional £100,000 of funding has been announced to support those people with little or no work history. We have also launched best practice guidance and a toolkit to help employers run effective returner programmes. We urge them to make the most of these publicly available resources.

Gender equality is a global issue. I recently attended a gathering in Spain of Ministers from across Europe. While we are leaving the European Union, we are clear that we will continue to work with partners in Europe and across the world to ensure that women and girls have the same rights and opportunities as their male counterparts.

I conclude by saying again that I am proud to participate in today’s debate with so many staunch advocates of gender equality. I am proud to be part of this Government, and it is an honour to be part of the work we are doing and will continue to do to fight for gender equality across the UK and the world. We are making great progress and it is only right that we celebrate how far we have come. Now, all I ask of you is to keep working together, especially in these challenging times, to think about how we can balance for better, and how we can ensure that gender equality becomes a reality sooner rather than later. I beg to move.