Times caption: Penny Mordaunt, the minister for women and equalities, is expected to raise the issue at a conference hosted by Bright Blue (VICTORIA JONES/PA)
A piece by Greg Hurst, Social Affairs Editor, on the front page of today’s Times:
Middle-class women’s issues such as the gender pay gap and corporate glass ceiling are to be downgraded by the government in favour of championing those in low-paid, low-status roles.
Women in poorly paid jobs, with limited qualifications or who care for elderly relatives or disabled children will become the priority in Whitehall in a shift of policy to be announced today.
Instead of focusing on professional women returning to work, attention will switch to those who work as carers, cleaners and in customer service roles. Ethnic minority groups such as Bangladeshi women will be targeted because their employment rate is three times lower than that of white women.
Penny Mordaunt, the minister for women and equalities, will announce the change in a speech at a conference hosted by Bright Blue, a think tank with links to liberal Conservatives.
The shift in focus for the equalities office, a Whitehall unit responsible for work to achieve social equality, is a rebuke to predecessors in Ms Mordaunt’s role. These include Amber Rudd, Justine Greening, Nicky Morgan and Sajid Javid.
A Whitehall source said that while significant progress had been made in closing the gender pay gap, calls for more women to be placed on company boards often meant that low-paid, low-skilled women were “left out of the conversation”.
The latest move is intended to advance Theresa May’s domestic agenda of tackling “burning injustices” in society and improving the lives of people on lower incomes who are “just about managing”.
Ms Mordaunt is continuing to raise her profile among Conservatives. She is expected to say in her speech to Bright Blue’s women in work conference that every British woman must have the freedom, choice, support and protection to do whatever she wishes, [J4MB emphasis] and that to achieve this the work of the government equalities office must “broaden out”.
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