A statement from Janet Finch-Saunders AM, Assembly Member for Aberconwy, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Local Government, for International Women’s Day 2017.
Janet Finch-Saunders AM said:
“Even in this day and age, gender inequality sadly exists across the world, affecting women in a variety of ways.
“For example, only 63 countries comply with the International Labour Organisation’s minimum maternity leave standards of at least 14 weeks paid maternity leave, and in reality, just 28% of employed women worldwide enjoy any kind of paid maternity leave in practice.
“This inequality exists here in Wales, too, with women only occupying 2% of Chief Executive Positions in the top 100 Welsh businesses, 22% of University vice-chancellor positions, and making up just 18% of local government chief executives.
“And whilst women make up some 77% of our NHS workforce, one of the ten Local Health Boards and Trusts has a woman in charge: this is actually down from almost a third ten years ago.
“International Women’s Day is exceptionally important in highlighting the need to achieve global gender equality – to ensure girls and boys alike receive respect, rights, education, and security from threat, abuse and discrimination.
“The gender pay gap means that globally, women are paid just 77p for every £1 earned by a man, for work of equal value. This has to stop.
“Despite the Equal Pay Act 1970 – some 47 years ago – this divide exists in the UK today. Sadly, many continue to fight equal pay claims cases within the public – indeed, over 557 outstanding cases are still held against local authorities in Wales, at a cost to the taxpayer of millions of pounds. This is money earned by women and still owed to them, and such issues must be addressed as priority.
“Equality of treatment, rights, and respect is essential to the development of any nation, and it is vital that we continue to build on the hard work undertaken by campaigners over the years to make Wales a country fair for all.”
International Women’s Day has been observed across the work since the early 1900s, and is now recognised each year on March 8.