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Women in Politics: Five things we would change about Jersey

Women in Politics: Five things we would change about Jersey

Friday 15 June 2018

Women in Politics: Five things we would change about Jersey

Launched in December, Women in Politics aim to increase female participation in politics, including standing for election, supporting others and making their voice heard on important issues.

But the group is also hoping to help women advance in other areas, using social media to educate islanders and campaign on issues such as the gender pay gap, issues around parental leave and equality in the workplace.

Today they share some of the causes they care about - and would like to see changed in Jersey - with Express...

1. Women's Health is not taboo

Martha Bernstein, Women in Politics

"I would like to change the attitude we all have to the subject of Women’s Health. Why is it still such a taboo subject to talk about issues surrounding something so basic that happens to women month in month out during most of their working lives? Menstruation is something that everyone needs to be comfortable thinking and talking about - and that includes women!

stress anxiety mental health

Pictured: The physical health and mental health issues caused by menopause and menstruation should be handled openly in the workplace.

At the other end of the age scale the Menopause is a huge issue that affects working women. There are too many offices who do not consider the implications for their staff of relatively minor changes to help combat some of the issues. The physical health and mental health issues that women face coping with these two issues alone need to be handled openly and respectfully to enable the workforce to move on to achieve their highest potential. Then don’t get me started on pregnancy, miscarriage and terminations."


2. Put an end to workplace discrimination

Edyta Byard, Women in Politics, Head of the Polish Cultural Centre

"I would like to remove obstacles that still exist in the workplace for women who become pregnant and have very young children. Despite discrimination laws, not all employers do welcome pregnant employees or those with very young children. As a result, women often struggle to keep their jobs or find a new one once they are forced to leave their employment. 

woman pregnant

Pictured: No woman should be discriminated because she is pregnant or has young children.

"No woman should have to worry about being able to afford to maintain the welfare of her child or reasonable accommodation. No woman who is capable of and wishes to work should be forced to claim unemployment benefits or become cut off from their social ties with other people, because of discrimination in the workplace. Children are our future and we need to treat their mothers with respect for the sacrifice that they make and not make things even more stressful for families during the most important time of a child’s development."


3. Better support for the Women's Refuge

Catherine Kirby, Joint Chair Women in Politics, Joint President Soroptimist International of Jersey.

"I want the States of Jersey to stop eroding the grant awarded to the Jersey Women's Refuge. The drive behind the establishment of the Refuge was members of Soroptimist International of Jersey. 

rape abuse domestic

Pictured: "Domestic abuse is not acceptable in our society."

"2018 sees the Refuge reach 30 years of vital support to women and children in need. The Refuge is still needed as much as ever - why?  We must make the conversation louder. Domestic abuse is not acceptable in our society."


4. Equality begins at birth

Toni Roberts, Joint Chair Women in Politics

"My change would be that Jersey ensures all children irrespective of where they are on the socio/economic scale have the same start in life which means access to good quality, affordable childcare seven days a week and during school holidays. The majority of parents have to work but their ability to access good quality childcare can differ greatly and research has shown that this can impact on the development of a child.

baby child family maternity

Pictured: All babies should have the best start in life, according to Toni Roberts.

"The high cost of childcare means that parents may have to choose cheaper, lower-quality, informal childcare which can create early inequalities. Studies have shown that the provision of good quality, affordable childcare particularly benefits disadvantaged children. Change can happen if Jersey invests in its children, they are the future."


5. Let's say goodbye to outdated taxation

Christine Spinks, Women in Politics, Joint President Soroptimist International of Jersey

"I would love to make changes surrounding our out of date practices concerning Taxation. When are we going to move into the 21st century? Next year sees the 100th anniversary of a proportion of women in Jersey being allowed to vote, yet we still have to seek our husband's written permission to be able to discuss our tax affairs with the department.  This is an archaic and sexist requirement.

Income tax return 2017

Pictured: It's time to say goodbye to outdated taxation and to GST, Christine Spinks says.

"My other major concern is GST. There isn't enough space today for a big debate, but why can we not at least remove this tax from some, if not all, foodstuffs and most certainly from sanitary products."

 The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and not of Bailiwick Express. 

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