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7 Laws We Have Because Of Female MPs

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Men might have been the ones to give us the right to vote, but since we became politically active women have been at the forefront of pushing important gender-based issues. As we celebrate 100 years since some women were given the right to vote (only those over 30 with certain property qualifications, all of us got it in 1928) it’s integral to show how far we’ve come and commemorate the women who’ve kept fighting for our rights ever since. Check out these integral laws, none of which would have been possible without having women in parliament…

Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill 2004

The General Committees scrutinise proposed legislation and enable it to be passed as a bill. Vera Baird, who was honoured last year for her services for women and working towards equality, was one on the committee that looked into the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill. It changed the laws around domestic violence in multiple ways, notably making common assault arrestable - allowing police to arrest on the scene of a crime where they were previously compelled to leave and subsequently leave women in danger.

Equal Pay Act 1970

We may still have a gender pay gap, but without the legislation to ensure it’s considered illegal there would be no grounds to even fight this on. It was thanks to Labour MP Barbara Castle – who passed away in 2002) that we ever had equal pay taken seriously. She was the longest serving female MP in history until 2007 when Gwyneth Dunwoody took that top spot. Her career spanned 34 years, a true modern-day suffragette.

Transport Act 1968

Another of Barbara Castle’s gems, this act introduced government subsidies for railways that were unprofitable but necessary for social inclusion. As transport minister, she also made it illegal for cars not to be fitted with seatbelts, clearly saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

Equality Act 2010

Wrote by Polly Toynbee under the guidance of Harriet Harman, this act brought together a number of discrimination laws (Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.) It enforces equal treatment in access to employment, public and private services regardless of gender, age, disability, marriage or civil partnership, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation as well as gender reassignment.

Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003

With FGM still being practiced globally, and almost 10,000 cases reported in the UK alone last year, this act was a necessity. While FGM was already illegal in the UK, this act made it so that women and girls couldn’t be taken outside the UK to have the procedure. Pushed by Baroness Ruth Rendell, it also increased the maximum penalty from five to 14 years.

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

While everyone was skeptical of the coalition government in 2010, it was great news that Liberal Democrat Minister for Equalities Lynne Featherstone. In September 2011, she announced a government consultation on introducing civil marriage for same sex couples in England and Wales, and was instrumental in it being passed in 2013.

Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence Act 2017

Pushed for by Theresa May, this act has stopped victims being interrogated by abusers in court and reduces the ability of police to treat domestic violence cases inconsistently. May backed the fight against domestic violence when she was Home Secretary stating that ‘domestic violence and abuse is a life-shattering and absolutely abhorrent crime’

Check out the women fighting gender injustice online...