The Fawcett Society has warned that millions of women will miss the chance to have their say in the 8 June General Election as the deadline for registration approaches.
The equal rights charity is urging women across the country to exercise their right to vote after it found that there are at least 500,000 fewer females than males are registered to vote.
Analysis of polling data by the society has suggested that eight million women don’t plan to vote in June, and will miss out on the opportunity to voice their opinions on prominent issues such as the NHS.
“Almost 100 years on from the first women getting the right to vote, we still see what is likely to be a significant gap in turnout by gender,” said Fawcett chief executive Sam Smethers. “We are calling on all women to make sure they register to vote before the deadline.”
With 2018 marking the centenary of women winning the right to vote, the Fawcett Society has released a manifesto imploring all political parties to pledge to advance gender equality and women’s rights.
Smethers said: “With the overall gender pay gap still at 18 per cent, violence against women and girls still rife in our society, and Brexit posing a risk to hard-fought protections, it is as important as ever that women have a say. We urge women across the country to take these demands to their candidates.”
Fawcett analysis of different polls revealed that the NHS is consistently a key concern for women and this election is no different.
On average, 63 per cent of women view the NHS as a prominent issue compared with 50 per cent of men. Meanwhile, men are slightly more concerned with Brexit, with 50 per cent rating it as an important issue versus 45 per cent of women.
Taking account of the different priorities, the organisation is calling for measures to get more women into government, including for at least 45 per cent of parties’ parliamentary candidates to be women.
The society has also recommended that:
– Women to be represented at every level and stage of Brexit negotiations.
– An increase in the national living wage to bring it up to the level of the real living wage.
– An extended, dedicated, well-paid period of leave for fathers
– A requirement for large companies who have to report their gender pay gaps to have an action plan in place, and penalties for those who do not comply.
– A long-term, national, and sustainable funding strategy for specialist women-only services including domestic violence refuges, in order to meet our Istanbul Convention obligations.
– A national care service, giving social care parity with the NHS, and investing in social care infrastructure with a professionalised care workforce.