Penny Mordaunt

The government is announcing plans to tackling inequalities faced “at every stage of a woman’s life”.

Women and Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt said she would consult on employment rights for carers and tackling sexual harassment at work.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, she said women “worked very hard but earn less and save less”.

She also said abortion rules in Northern Ireland were “incompatible with a person’s human rights”.

Currently a termination of a pregnancy in Northern Ireland is only permitted if a woman’s life is at risk or if there is a risk of permanent and serious damage to her mental or physical health.

Unlike other parts of the UK, the 1967 Abortion Act does not extend to Northern Ireland.

Ms Morduant said the issue was devolved to the Northern Ireland government but added that she expected the UK government to act following an expected court ruling on the subject.

“If government did not act, Parliament would,” she added.

From the classroom to the world of work

Setting out the roadmap to tackle gender inequality, Ms Mordaunt said the government had been looking at the choices girls and women make “in the classroom to what happens when she heads into the world of work” and how that impacts on “her savings and her pension pot”.

She said a consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace would be launched next week – and would include proposals on making employers responsible when a member of staff was harassed by another employee.

She also said she wanted to end paternity leave discrimination, make a better childcare offer, ensure pension pots were taken into account in divorces and introduce employment rights for carers.

The minister acknowledged that “many have asked for paid leave for carers” adding “the reason why these things haven’t emerged is because we need more pressure from the Cabinet Office”.

She admitted it was “very fair” to criticise the government over delays to publishing a green paper on social care – a document that would set out proposals on the subject.

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