Where do they stand on women’s issues?

A leadership contest to name Boris Johnson’s successor as UK Prime Minister has been narrowed down to former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

A new YouGov poll, published Tuesday, found that 60% of Conservative Party members polled between July 29 and August 2 intend to vote for Truss, putting her in the lead by 34 points.

Support for Sunak has plummeted, with only 26% of the 1,043 members polled saying they would vote for him.

Both candidates have been busy introducing themselves to party members. Sunak has pledged to cut personal taxes by 20% before 2029 – what he described as the “biggest income tax cut in 30 years”.

Earlier this week he also pledged to introduce £10 no-show fines for people who “misuse” the NHS in a bid to help the health service recover from Covid-19 delays.

Meanwhile, Truss has promised tax cuts worth £30bn within weeks of taking office, as a way of helping people through the cost-of-living crisis.

Truss has committed to reversing the National Insurance increase (which took effect in April).

“The tax cuts I’m talking about will be delivered day one because we have an immediate issue that families are struggling with the cost of fuel, with the cost of food,” she said during a campaign visit to Devon.

“That’s why I’m going to reverse the increase in the National Insurance. I will also have a temporary moratorium on the green energy tax to reduce fuel bills.”

British Foreign Secretary Liz Trus and former Chancellor Rihi Sunak during the BBC debate on July 25, 2022 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Separately, she focused her focus on education sector reform, including expanding access to key institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge universities and giving less importance to predicted grades.

Sunak and Truss also pledged to show that they are prepared to act against violence against women and girls.

Sunak promised to criminalize wearing shirts down, while Truss said she would work to create a National Domestic Abuse Registry to combat recidivism by abusive men.

But as the pair battle it out for the vote of some 160,000 party members, where do they really stand on women’s issues? Here’s what we’ve learned so far.

About the right to abortion

Neither Truss nor Sunak strongly supported women’s reproductive rights during their political careers.

Rishi Sunak

Sunak, who served as chancellor during the Covid-19 pandemic before resigning last month, has abstained from every major vote on abortion rights since becoming a deputy in 2015.

Sunak cast only one pro-abortion vote – in April 2021, when he voted in favor of a motion to empower Northern Ireland’s secretary to enforce the commissioning of abortion services in the country.

He did not support bills on important abortion rights issues, such as a 2018 bill that would have introduced “buffer zones” outside abortion clinics across the UK, and he abstained from voting to continue the “pills by the pill” scheme. mail” introduced during the pandemic.

Liz Truss

Truss voted for the decriminalization of abortion in Northern Ireland, but was also left out of votes in the buffer zones.

As Minister for Women and Equality, she has been criticized by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) for ignoring their demands to publicly denounce the overthrow of the US Supreme Court. Roe x Wade in June.

Additionally, in 2019, she held an audience with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that campaigns against abortion.

BPAS said Sunak and Truss demonstrated a “pattern of abstention when it comes to the abortion issue.”

“In 2022, following the US decision to overthrow Roe V Wade, the UK needs a leader who openly and vocally supports a woman’s right to have access to abortion,” he said in a press release. The Independent.

“The warm words of these leadership candidates about supporting women and girls are too little when both have repeatedly failed to participate in several key votes to advance reproductive choice and help protect women and girls.”

About violence against women

Rishi Sunak

Sunak proposed a new “blouse-down offense.” He also promised to create a new task force to crack down on grooming gangs.

He said a new National Crime Agency emergency task force would “hunt down” criminal gangs.

Sunak described sexual violence against women and girls as a “national emergency”.

“As a father of two girls, I want them to be able to go out at night or shop at night without fear of threats,” he said.

“I will make it a criminal offense if you harass women by taking intimate pictures of them without their consent and will introduce a major crackdown on grooming gangs.

“I will not stop until we live in a society where women and girls can live their daily lives feeling safe and secure.”

Liz Truss

Last week, Truss promised to introduce a National Domestic Abuse Registry that she said would help break a cycle of repeat offenses by abusive men and a stand-alone street harassment offense.

The registry would cover all forms of domestic abuse, including coercive control and financial abuse.

“Over the past two years, our nation has been shocked by a series of murders of high-profile women,” Truss said.

“Violence against women and girls does not have to be inevitable. Women must be able to walk the streets without fear of being harmed and perpetrators must expect to be punished.

“Through increased police training, new infractions, faster processes for rape victims and our Domestic Abuse Registry, we will ensure victims are protected and crimes are prevented in the first place.”

Sabina Nessa disappeared while walking to meet a friend on September 17 (Getty Images)

Sabina Nessa disappeared while walking to meet a friend on September 17 (Getty Images)

But the Coalition to End Violence Against Women said significant change will require investment in long-term specialist prevention work.

This includes “public campaigns aimed at changing attitudes that drive and sustain harmful behavior and carrying out holistic prevention work in schools and educational settings,” said Deniz UÄŸur, deputy director of the coalition.

Neither Truss nor Sunak laid out plans for such public campaigns.

“Currently, we know that the government invested less than 10% of the budget it calculated was needed to deliver a new relationship and sex curriculum. That’s not good enough,” said UÄŸur.

Neither Sunak nor Truss have committed to increasing funding for specialist frontline services for victims and survivors of abuse, especially those helping people of black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

“These services are a lifeline, but without adequate resources, many survivors face waits of more than a year for life-saving support,” said UÄŸur.

“Recovery and healing are an essential part of justice, and the government must recognize and provide expert services so that no survivor is left without the support they need.”

About economic policy

Neither Truss nor Sunak acknowledged how women are negatively impacted by economic policies or committed to making improvements in this area.

Research has shown that women are the “buffer” of poverty, said the UK’s Women’s Budget Group (WBG).

As inflation continues to rise – and is expected to hit a high of 8.7% by the end of 2022 – the WBG says the cost-of-living crisis will “disproportionately affect” women, who are “more likely to be in debt.” and spend a greater proportion of their expenses on essentials”.

Additionally, a 2020 report by McKinsey & Co found that women’s jobs were 1.8 times more vulnerable during the pandemic.

Women also make up the majority of public sector employees, and public sector workers have seen their wages frozen for most of the last decade.

Women provide unpaid child care (Getty Images)

Women provide unpaid child care (Getty Images)

In addition, the role of women in providing unpaid care for children makes it more difficult for them to do more hours of paid work.

“All this means that women are ill-equipped to deal with the current cost-of-living crisis. We need to see recognition of this from both candidates,” the WBG said.

“Both Sunak and Truss voted in 2015 against conducting an assessment of the impact of government policies on women, which would have helped to mitigate any disproportionate burden on women.

“Nursery fees have increased twice as much as wages in the last ten years, keeping many women out of work. Promises to ‘do more for women’ or nods to deregulating child care as a way to increase affordability are not addressing the root cause of much of women’s economic inequality.

“This will only happen when policymakers begin to recognize and value the role of care and those who provide it. If leadership candidates really want to support women, it needs to start there.”

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