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Why is Jeremy Corbyn the only candidate I trust to help tackle gender inequality and discrimination?

JeremyCorbyn1This week Jeremy Corbyn laid out his policy proposals for tackling gender inequality and discrimination faced by women in the UK. Including universal free childcare, a national carers’ strategy, restoring the now stripped funding to domestic abuse shelters and a shadow cabinet composed of at least 50% women, the proposals in his document ‘Working With Women’ far outshine anything that has so far come from the other candidates.

Focusing on everything from carer’s allowance (currently an unliveable £63 a week), anti-choice harassment outside reproductive health centres (a major problem in London and a growing one across the UK), and the dismantling of adult social care (women pensioners are far more likely to be living in poverty), Jeremy’s proposals are everything I want – and so desperately need – our Labour Party to be fighting for.

Ensuring comprehensive personal, social, health and economic education – with a focus on consent and LGBT issues – is embedded into our national curriculum would frankly be revolutionary when compared to the disparity in PSHE education provisions across schools at the moment. Restoring funding to legal aid would ensure that women escaping domestic violence and abuse are given the opportunities and resources to prosecute their abusers, if it is a route they wish to take. Scrapping employment tribunal fees and extending the period during which a woman can take up a case would mean that some of the 54,000 pregnant women a year currently who lose their jobs wouldn’t – it’s no surprise that sex discrimination cases have fallen by 91% since employment tribunal fees were introduced. Investing in high-quality, skills based, well paid apprenticeships would ensure that young women apprentices, particularly those who are parents, aren’t forced to live on a measly £2.73 an hour salary. Restoring liveable grants for those at college and university would mean carers, parents, and those who are estranged from their families, an issue which disproportionately affects trans women of colour, would be able to pay their rent without worrying about how they will be able to afford to eat.

Some people have told me they’re worried – whilst they support Jeremy’s policies in principle, they don’t know how we’re going to pay for them. One of his major policies, a commitment to working towards free, universal childcare, would pay for itself through the extra revenue and productivity gained from those in work, plus a small 2% rise in corporation tax (and the UK would remain the country with the lowest corporation tax in the G7 even with this increase).

I didn’t ever think that I would be writing an article in support of another old white man to lead the Labour Party, particularly with two women in the race, but my experience of Jeremy is different. He isn’t like most politicians, who don’t tend to have much time to listen to young women with fierce opinions about the world. He’s modest, humble, and in every speech he makes he reminds the activists involved in his leadership campaign that it isn’t about him – it’s about all of us. The campaign has an incredible variety of people volunteering their time to it, and I don’t think there’s ever been a time I’ve ever been more excited to be a member of the Labour Party. Phone banks, socials and rallies are full of school students, mothers, carers, teachers, nurses, trade unionists, sex workers, immigrants, and huge numbers of young people who joined the party after being inspired by his vision.

As a young, queer, severely disabled woman trying to survive on a poverty-level amount of Employment Support Allowance and housing benefit, living in a city with sky rocketing rents, an inaccessible transport system and an NHS which is close to breaking point, I don’t see the hope or vision that is defining Jeremy’s campaign in any of the others. In the wake of the general election defeat and facing a government more brutal than Thatcher, hope is in short supply. What we need in our next Labour leader is someone who can unite our party, win back the hundreds of thousands of people who feel Labour abandoned them in the last twenty years, and who has a clear vision for the kind of party, and society, we want to become.

I don’t want to be in a Labour Party where we preach equal opportunities and talk about all-women shortlists, but vote through cuts to the welfare system which push working-class women and their children into poverty. I don’t want to be in a Labour Party where we placate to the Tory rhetoric on ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ immigrants, while supporting draconian and racist immigration measures which cause irreparable harm to asylum seekers. I don’t want to be in a Labour Party where we only talk about gay marriage, like LGBT youth homelessness isn’t one of the most pressing issues for LGBT people today.

What Jeremy represents is much bigger than one person or one idea, but rather is about the Labour left’s collective hunger for a democratic Labour Party who stand up for our values and principles, who know we should be fighting for those who are most marginalised in society, and who desperately need and want our Labour Party to start giving people hope that another kind of Britain is possible. And under Jeremy’s leadership, I believe it is.

Aisling Gallagher is an activist in London Young Labour and Unite Community, and is the former Women’s Officer of NUS-USI, the National Union of Students in Northern Ireland. 


  1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    “I didn’t ever think that I would be writing an article in support of another old white man to lead the Labour Party, particularly with two women in the race, but my experience of Jeremy is different.”

    Implicit in that single short paragraph is almost everything about modern politically correct, (we used to call it being, “right on,” and it wasn’t a compliment,) Labor party that so many people so many people find so utterly patronizing and condescending, particularly to women.

    Quite apart from the fact that both the women you mention with such regard are and exactly like so many of their equally light fingered and equally swindling male colleagues in the opinion of a large proportion of the general public little more than crooks for whom criminal prosecution would more appropriate than public office.

    Why did the MP cross the road?
    So she could claim a second homes allowance

    What’s the difference between Parliament and a catering service?
    One books the cooks …

    What’s the difference between an MP and an acrobat?
    An MP can make a lot more from flipping.

  2. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    Incidentally I mostly support JC’s proposals; but particularly those about women refuges which are too often desperately needed by too many extremely vulnerable and, “at risk,” women and children, (I speak from personal experience,) the cut’s to the funding for which, have been among the Tory’s most vile and completely vicious.

    But why has no one else in the Labor party pointed this out ?

    (Actually I think that Micheal Meacher has also raised it previously, to be fair to him.)

  3. Chris says:

    Gender inequality doesn’t exist

    1. John P Reid says:

      It’s more class, the working class are the ones who suffer, I’d define as any politician who’s parent was a labour candidate as being middle class

      So this Kinnock, Osamor,Benn

  4. Billericaydickie says:

    Chris. Yo Bro, tell it like it is.

    1. Robert says:

      Well John Blair is not the offer.

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