Canterbury and Whitstable Labour MP Rosie Duffield is backing a campaign to formally make misogyny a hate crime.
The 46-year-old has made women’s issues a key element of her work since becoming an MP in June last year.
Women’s rights campaign group The Fawcett Society is spearheading the drive to make misogyny a hate crime as well as calling for a strengthening of sexual harassment legislation.
- Female staff at the University of Kent earn 17.5% less than male colleagues
- Labour MP Rosie Duffield’s chief of staff close to standing for Parliament herself
Ms Duffield joined fellow Labour MPs Stella Creasey and Melanie Onn in promoting its work. Earlier this week Ms Onn, spoke on the issue at the House of Commons.
And today (Thursday) Ms Duffield urged constituents to listen the speech and back the campaign.
Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: “As it stands, and when you take a step back and look at the law and see how all of this adds up, the legal system is fundamentally failing women at every turn. It’s time to say, ‘enough is enough’.”
Ms Duffield has spoken about sexism in Parliament and has called for equal representation between men and women in politics.
The Fawcett Society is also focusing its attention on the issue of pay for men and women in the same jobs or organisations.
“If we believe that gender equality is good for business, then we must also believe that discrimination and harassment are bad for business,” Ms Smethers added.
“The chances are this will be happening to some extent in most workplaces, so let’s move towards proactive action and require employers to do something about it.”
But Joanna Williams, a University of Kent education lecturer and social commentator, argues that the disparities in pay exist as a result of the different situations men and women find themselves in the workplace.
She said: “According to the Office for National Statistics, the gap between the median hourly earnings of men and women working full time is 9.1%. The Fawcett Society prefers the mean figure of 14.1%.
“Actually, they’d like us to focus on the gap between the total average earnings of men compared to women – about 18.4%.
“Whatever. When we compare the pay of men and women doing the same jobs, at the same level, for the same number of hours the pay gap shrinks into insignificance.”
Dr Williams suggests that if women truly want to eliminate pay differences they should forgo things like maternity leave and part-time work and do degrees in subjects such as maths and science which pay more rather than the humanities which pay less.