Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

Conservatives believe in equality of opportunity for all, so everyone across our United Kingdom – no matter their gender, race, or background – can reach their full potential. 
  • We are proud of our record as champions of women in all aspects of British life, from supporting more women to reach the top table of Britain’s biggest companies and politics, to strengthening protections for victims of domestic abuse, and cracking down on perpetrators of violence against women and girls. 
  • We are committed to gender parity in all aspects of society and will continue to ensure women’s voices are heard as we build a fairer, more equal Britain.
We are removing barriers which hold people back:

  • Acting to see a steep rise in the number of women in work, taking female employment to a record high, meaning more women earning a decent wage. Since 2010, the number of women in employment has increased from 13,616,000 to 15,663,000 last year, and reached record highs pre-pandemic (ONS, Number of women in employment, 14 February 2023, link)
  • Supporting more women to start their own businesses so that we can all benefit from growing the economy. The Rose Review, launched by the Treasury in 2019, found in its latest annual progress report that women have established 151,603 companies, up by 6,332 on the previous year. They represented 20 per cent of all incorporations, compared with 16.7 per cent in 2018 (The Times, 22 February 2023, link). 
  • Taking action to get more women on our top company boards. We have already met our target to get 40 per cent of FTSE 350 leadership roles held by women, three years early. Women’s board representation increased by nearly 3 per cent last year across the FTSE 350, with a third of all leadership roles in FTSE companies held by women (BaT, Press release, 28 February 2023, link). 
  • Removing barriers in the workplace, so that every woman can reach their full potential after having a family. We have introduced shared parental leave, 30 hours of free childcare for eligible parents and are encouraging employers to offer employees flexible working as standard – making it easier for women to return and stay in work after having a family (DfE, News Story, 17 March 2020, link; GEO, Press Release, 5 March 2021, link). 

We are cracking down on violence against women and girls 

  • Launching a landmark Violence against Women And Girls Strategy to make sure our streets are safer for the most vulnerable. 
  • The Strategy will support victims by launching a 24/7 sexual assault helpline, introduce VAWG Transport Champions, and make communities safer with revised guidelines (HO, News Story, 21 July 2021, link).  
  • Putting £125 million into practical measures like street lighting so that women and girls feel safer at night. Through the Safer Street Fund and Safety of Women at Night Fund, we have invested £125 million to deliver practical support for women and girls across our communities (HO, News Story, 25 July 2022, link). 
  • Introducing new laws to tackle ‘upskirting’ and protecting victims of stalking. As of April 2019, ‘upskirting’ offenders can be arrested as sent to prison in England and Wales. We are also protecting victims of stalking by allowing police to intervene more rapidly to protect victims (MoJ, Press Release, April 2019, link; Home Office, News Story, 15 March 2019, link). 
  • Improving how abhorrent crimes like rape are dealt with so that victims get the support and respect they deserve – we are setting up the UK’s first ever government-funded 24/7 support service for victims of rape, ensuring victims can access professional support at any time. We have announced the first ever 24/7 support service for victims of rape. The service is operated by Rape Crisis England and Wales who have over three decades’ experience running a helpline for victims (MoJ, Press release, 7 December 2022, link).

We are protecting women from domestic abuse
  • Introducing our tough new Domestic Abuse Act, strengthening protections for victims and improving support services. Our Domestic Abuse Act strengthens protections for victims, reforms our family courts to give women support during trials, and ends the so called ‘rough sex’ defence. It also widens the scope of controlling and coercive behaviour, makes non-fatal strangulation a specific criminal offence, and widens ‘revenge porn’ laws (HO, New Story, 29 April 2021, link). 
  • Tagging the most dangerous domestic abusers and classifying violence against women and girls as a national threat for the very first time. Anyone jailed for 12 months or more for coercive control will be placed on the Violent and Sex Offender Register, with the worst abusers electronically tagged and made to attend behaviour change programmes. We are also classifying VAWG as a national threat for the first time (Sky News, 20 February 2023, link).  
  • Allocating £125 million to councils for safe accommodation, providing security to domestic abuse victims and their children. We are providing £125 million to councils across England to ensure victims and their children can access life-saving support, including therapy, advocacy, and counselling in safe accommodation so they can take a vital step in recovering and rebuilding their lives (HO, Press Release, 12 February 2021, link). 

Conservative women are leading the way:
  • We are the only British political party to have elected a female Prime Minister, and have done so three times. The Conservative Party is the only political party to be led by three female Prime Ministers and made history when Margaret Thatcher was elected in 1979 (GOV.UK, Past Prime Ministers, accessed 28 February 2023, link). 
  • The last election saw the largest number of female Conservative MPs ever elected to Parliament. In 2019, the number of Conservative female MPs elected to Parliament rose from 67 in 2017 to 87 in 2019 and is now almost double the 49 female Conservative MPs the party had in 2010 (House of Commons Library, General Election 2019: How many women were elected?, 15 January 2020, link). 
  • We voluntarily publish our candidate statistics on gender and ethnic make-up, as we work to improve representation in Parliament. The Conservative Party publishes its Parliamentary Candidate Diversity data on our website, including data on all our parliamentary candidates at the most recent general election.
  • We publish our gender pay statistics annually and continue to take steps to review progress on gender diversity to achieve gender equality across our organisation. At Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ,) our gender pay gap median is 1.6 per cent – well below the national average gender pay gap of 17.3 per cent as of 2019
  • The Conservative Women’s Organisation is one of the oldest women’s political organisations in the world. Founded in 1919, the CWO is an affiliated organisation of the Conservative Party dedicated to helping more women become elected Members of Parliament and work in all levels of government.


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