'...Margot Parker MEP calls for further steps to achieve equality...'
MARGOT Parker MEP has backed International Women's Day and called for further steps to be made to achieve equality at home and abroad.
The theme of this year's annual event – which takes place on Friday – is #BalanceforBetter and campaigns for a gender-balanced world.
Mrs Parker, MEP for the East Midlands, who sits on the FEMM, (Women's Rights and Gender Equality), committee in the EU Parliament has fought tirelessly for women's rights at home, across Europe and indeed, across the world.
She said: "International Women’s Day again gives us all the chance to celebrate the achievements and the steps which have been made over the years.
“But it is also a day to remember many women across the world are not equal and there is much work to be done- both at home and abroad, not least in countries were women are oppressed. Education is the key and should play a big part in helping to end that oppression.”
International Women's Day has been observed since the early 1900's and is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity.
Mrs Parker urged people to visit www.internationalwomensday.com and get involved in the push for equal chances.
She said: “There is so much work to be done on a whole host of issues and we all need to play a part.”
On Thursday, the EU is holding an inter-parliamentary committee meeting, Women's Power In Politics, which is looking at how to boost the power of women in politics and young women in politics.
Mrs Parker herself has campaigned on a range of equality issues including the fight to end the horrendous practice of female genital mutilation, (FGM), the fight against sex trafficking, the campaign against the unfair 'tampon tax,' the battle to end child marriage and so-called 'grooming gangs', and the projects to enable equal chances for women in business and the workplace to make childcare more affordable for working women.
She said: "We must mark the achievements so far but there is much more work to be done.
"Too many women are still subjected to issues they have to fight against because of their gender – for instance, we must look at closing this pay gap narrowed further, particularly when it comes to women returning to work after childbirth. It is grossly unfair on women that the gap widens after the arrival of children, whether that is due to them missing promotions, or gathering less work experiences.
"Remember, there is huge, untapped workforce of women who simply cannot go back to work because, for example, they can only to work weekends when their partner is home. The costs of childcare make it very difficult for women to get back into the workplace."
"Women who return to work after they have had their children - no matter how long they are out of the workforce for - have so much to offer society. We have a duty to make sure they are treated fairly."
She also urged the international community to fight harder to end FGM.
She said: "The physical and mental trauma this horrific practice causes is heart-breaking for the victims.
"FGM has been illegal in the UK for more than 30 years - including cases where girls are sent 'home' to be mutilated in the name of culture.
"This is entirely about keeping women in their place, asserting power over them and destroying their sexual identities.
"The practice is abhorrent and is something we should, as a society, make clear is not acceptable under any circumstances and politically correct cultural sensitivities should be damned."
To find out more about International Women's Day visit www.internationalwomensday.com and find out how to join the campaign for full equality.