This Mum Votes is an exciting new project to ensure mums of young children have a seat at the table in decision making in the UK by increasing the numbers of women with young children or caring responsibilities elected at all levels of office. It will also campaign for the ‘This Mum Votes’ policy agenda and deliver it across the UK. Sign up below to receive updates as it develops.
Whats the Problem?
The Good Parliament research project shows when it comes to family, if you have young children and you are a man it is not a barrier to selection and election to office. Yet, the same cannot be said for women. During the pandemic, the needs of mothers were completely overlooked by politicians – whether the lack of action plan to ensure pregnant women could access the vaccine, the lack of consideration when implementing financial schemes on how this would interact with maternity pay, or the numbers of mothers lumbered with home schooling who lost their jobs or were furloughed and now find themselves without childcare to be able to return to work. In return the Government offered them a pat on the back – as thousands of nurseries have closed, and childminders have left the industry there is little sign this crisis will be addressed.
Britain’s economic competitors understand investment in childcare and care sectors is a key driver for development and productivity. Providing universal childcare almost pays for itself – yet there are few voices for this policy in parliament. The candidate pool for political parties is restricted by the barriers to participation having caring commitments creates- this inevitably affects the quality of candidates available for selection and election.
How do we change this?
· A non partisan coalition of campaigners led by Pregnant then Screwed called ‘This Mum Votes’ who will encourage and support more mums to be selected and elected to office to ensure they have a seat at the decision making table, and help develop and lobby for policies that break down the barriers to participation for those with caring commitments. The success of this work will be judged by whether political parties champion these policies and enact them. This will include whether other political party activists set up partisan schemes to select more mums.
· Partisan campaigns within political movements to support – directly via funding, mentoring and volunteers – mothers to get selected to ensure that at the next general election more mums are elected to office to promote the This Mum Votes policy pledges. Within the Labour movement, the ‘MotherRed’ project will aim to raise the money and organise the events, mentoring and campaigning support for mums with the aim of securing new Labour MPs who are explicitly committed to securing these policies if successful.
What are the policy pledges of This Mum Votes?
1) Good quality, affordable childcare
The Women’s Budget Group research shows Universal childcare is a vital infrastructure investment, and that investment in care creates 2.7 times as many jobs as the same investment in construction. In the first instance the campaign will advocate for a cap on the costs of childcare for all families at 10% of total income, and for those families with combined incomes of under £30,000 to have free childcare. In the longer term, TMR will lead the call for universal childcare provision from the age of 6 months for all children – it will also fight for Childcare workers to be paid the same as primary school workers.
2) Ring fenced paid paternity leave and all jobs advertised as flexible by default
Paternity leave is good for the wellbeing and education of children as well as it benefiting the careers of women. It is also good for marriages. Yet, only 2% of UK dads use shared parental leave. Other countries have shown that if paternity leave is ring-fenced and paid at 80% of salary then dads take time out in their droves. So too flexible working should be the default way of working- listed in job adverts so that it is built into how a job is designed, rather than shoehorned into a role afterwards. Research shows that this is what employees need and many companies have already adopted this approach to great success. Legislation is now needed to require companies list flexible working options in their job adverts unless they have a valid business reason not to do so.
3) Reform Universal Credit
There are many challenges with Universal Credit, and how this interacts with childcare, and issues around the two-child limit. Reform to Universal Credit is critical to help lift families out of poverty.