On International Women’s Day Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, announced investment that supports women and backs gender equality. This includes £20 million for organisations that tackle domestic violence and abuse, as announced by the Prime Minister this morning; £5 million fund to celebrate 100 years of voting rights for women and a A further £5 million fund will be made available for ‘returnships’ – to help those returning to work after long career breaks.
Returnships will be open to women and men, with the aim of giving people who have taken lengthy career breaks the opportunity to refresh their skills and build professional networks. The government will work with business groups and public sector organisations to identify how to boost further the opportunities for women returning to work.
The Prime Minister said, "When I stood on the steps of Downing Street and said I wanted this to be a country that works for everyone – I meant it.
That’s why – on International Women’s Day – I’m pleased to announce £5 million to help mothers returning to work after a long career break.
Women are driving our economy forward, securing 77% of new jobs last year – and now represent a higher percentage of FTSE Board membership than ever before.
Returnships are open to both men and women but we should acknowledge that, more often than not, it is women who give up their careers to devote themselves to motherhood, only to find the route back into employment closed off – the doors shut to them.
This isn’t right, it isn’t fair and it doesn’t make economic sense. So I want to see this scheme extended to all levels of management and into industries where women are underrepresented."
On the new domestic violence fund, the Prime Minister said, " tackling domestic violence and abuse is a key priority for this government. I attach a personal importance to this issue, through my time as Home Secretary and now as Prime Minister.
Our work in government has the potential to completely transform the way we think about and tackle domestic violence and abuse.
There are currently thousands of people across Britain who are reading this right now and who suffer at the hands of abusers. I know they feel isolated and do not know where to turn for help. Raising awareness as well as strengthening the law will prove crucial in the fight against this life shattering and abhorrent crime."
The Chancellor has also announced today a £5 million fund to mark the upcoming centenary of the ground breaking legislation, which gave women the right to vote. This money will support projects to celebrate the 100 years that have passed since the Representation of the People Act coming up in 2018, and will educate young people about its significance.
The 1918 act gave some women the vote for the first time and paved the way for the introduction of universal suffrage ten years later, which finally saw women win equal voting rights to men.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said, "it is important that we not only celebrate next year’s Centenary but also that we educate young people about its significance. It was the decisive step in the political emancipation of women in this country and this money will go to projects to mark its significance and remind us all just how important it was."