What Has the EU Done for Women?

It’s easy to point to examples of things that the EU has done to make life fairer for women.

Because we’re in Europe the UK has to abide by rules which were put in place by the EU to protect and promote equality and women’s rights in the workplace. Not only that, but the EU has helped tackle gender discrimination and fight against income inequality.

It has given us maternity leave and work protections during pregnancy as well as rules preventing harassment and unequal treatment at work, which means women in Britain benefit from the EU every day. We are guaranteed a minimum of 14 weeks maternity leave when we give birth, four months to care for children aged under eight months and the right to go back to our jobs after taking maternity leave.

The EU also introduced rules which protect us from being discriminated against or harassed at work, something which was sadly once commonplace.

But it does much more than just protect women’s rights at work. The EU is also the driving force behind ending violence against women and preventing sexual exploitation, both in the UK and around the continent. It offers opportunity to young women to learn and develop in the shape of educational programmes and does so much more.

It probably isn’t a coincidence that some of the leading campaigners for us to leave the EU also turn out to be dinosaurs when it comes to women’s rights. UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said working mothers are worth less than men, London Mayor Boris Johnson said women only go to university “to find men to marry” and leave campaigner George Galloway was named Sexist of the Year for describing sexual assault as “bad manners”.

Every woman who has taken maternity leave, benefited from anti-discrimination laws, or got a job created by doing business on the continent has the EU to thank, at least in part. This is something to bear in mind as you weigh up your decision about how to vote on 23 June.