Supporting 50s Women CEDAWinLAW campaign

Image of lady justice. Green Party Women Supporting #50sWomen #CEDAWinLAW

Just prior to the General Election the Green Party Women committee voted unanimously to join the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) group supporting the 50s Women CEDAWinLAW campaign. The ADR group was created by Sir George Howarth in 2023. It was a response to the CEDAWinLAW campaign and calls for ‘Mediation’ talks with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to right historical and current sex discrimination.

We think you will understand why we have chosen to support this campaign as part of this year’s committee aims to #RaiseWomensVoices and we are not alone in the Green Party.

When she was Party Leader, Caroline Lucas joined the ADR group. In the run up to the general election many of our Prospective Parliamentary candidates (PPCs) pledged to support the campaign, including our Co-chair Tina Rothery and Treasurer Anne Baker.

What is the 50s Women CEDAWinLAW campaign about?

CEDAW stands for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. CEDAW is commonly referred to as the international bill of rights for women. It defines what constitutes discrimination against women and girls and sets out a comprehensive framework for tackling inequality.

In 2019, the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women advised the UK Government to “take effective measures to ensure that the increase in the State pension age from 60 to 66 does not have a discriminatory impact on women born in the 1950s.”

When the UK government ratified CEDAW, it pledged to dismantle or avoid enacting laws or measures that adversely affect women more than men. The 50sWomen CEDAWinLAW campaign calls upon the Government to provide a financial remedy to 1950s-born women which they have neglected to do.

Historical sex discrimination

Pension Inequality

Women born in the 1950s have many faced challenges. The changes in the state pension age introduced by the then Tory government in 1995 has increased. These women, who often began work at age 15, were promised that they could claim their state pension at 60, but the age has gradually been increased to 65 and then to 66, to align with men. This change has had significant financial implications for women who had planned their retirement based on the earlier age and approximately 3.8 million women have suffered direct discrimination.

Additionally, many of these women, when in work, were advised to pay a married woman’s stamp (National Insurance contribution (NI) which led to a reduced state pension. This generation also bore the brunt of childcare and were not routinely made aware that any NI credited on receipt of child benefit would be accredited to the father if they did not receive it in their own name.

Workplace Discrimination and the Pay Gap

Women of this generation also faced systemic sex discrimination in the workplace, including unequal pay compared to their male counterparts. While progress has been made over the years, many women from this era still experience repercussions as they were unable to obtain a private pension.

50s women pension delay Report 2022

In November 2022 a report was published by former judge the Hon Dr Jocelynne Scutt AO on the plight of 1950s women who have waited up to six years to get their delayed pension. When the report was published Jocelynne presented it to Parliament.  You can view her speech below.

Finance and the NI Fund Shortfall

The amount taken from 50s Women has been calculated as £181.4 Billion.

In 2019 CEDAWinLAW along with other campaign groups negotiated a 58bn settlement and Labour called it a debt of honour, but has yet to pay up.

Other campaign groups were talking with the previous government about a settlement of £7 Billion. However, such a small sum will not provide any kind of justice for both the sex discrimination and maladministration, or for the financial losses 50s Women have actually incurred.

There is also approximately £80 Billion currently in the National Insurance Fund (NI Fund) which could be used to redress this discrimination.

There is also an estimated £271bn that is missing from the NI Fund, having been used for other purposes separate from the original intended purpose of the fund.

The NI Fund was initially proposed by William Beveridge. The National Insurance Act 1946 implemented many of Beveridge’s recommendations. It expanded the scope of National Insurance to include a wide range of benefits, such as old-age pensions, widows’ benefits, and sickness and unemployment benefits. The NI Fund was established to manage these contributions and payments.

Read more about NI Fund shortfall

Our aim

The 50s Women CEDAWinLAW campaign aims to support women born in the 1950s in the UK by addressing systemic issues that have historically disadvantaged them and we aim to support them.

We have already begun to explore the ways in which we can get the Green Party as a whole and our 4 newly elected MPs to support and pressurise the new Labour Government to rectify this historical wrong as a moral imperative and finally get these women the justice they deserve.

We will keep you updated on our progress.

In the meantime you can show your support for the campaign by signing this petition calling on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to attend settlement talks re ALL #50sWomen!

You can also write to your MP asking them to to join the ADR group . You can use this Write to your MP 50sWomen template.

Campaigns Raising Women's Voices Sex discrimination

To top