General Election: Labour manifesto 2019

We have looked at the proposals made by the Labour Party in their 2019 General Election manifesto.

We have mapped, as best we can, the proposals they have made against the demands we are making in our manifesto for women’s rights. Please check Labour’s manifesto itself for more details.

Read our analysis of the Liberal Democrats manifesto.

We will do the same for the Conservatives manifesto when it is published.

Some starter questions

1. How many times is the word woman or women used in the manifesto?


2. Does the manifesto commit to upholding the single sex exemptions in the Equality Act?


  • Ensure that the single-sex-based exemptions contained in the Equality Act 2010 are understood and fully enforced in service provision.
  • End mixed-sex wards

3. What does the manifesto say about reforming the Gender Recognition Act?

  • Labour is committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to introduce self-declaration for transgender people

WPUK Comment

We believe any proposals to change the Gender Recognition Act should only be made after proper consideration of all submissions to the consultation which closed on 21 October 2018. Such a law change must be subject to an Equality Impact Assessment to ensure that any changes do not infringe the rights of others especially those with legally protected characteristics.

Economic Status

Woman’s Place UK manifesto demands Labour manifesto promises
Take action to achieve equal pay, such as compulsory equal pay audits, the collection of sex disaggregated data and better enforcement of the Equality Act 2010. Deliver gender pay equality by making the state responsible for enforcing equal pay legislation for the first time.

The new Workers’ Protection Agency working with HMRC will ensure that employers take equal pay seriously and take positive action to close the gender pay gap.

Require all employers with over 250 employees to obtain government certification on gender equality or face further auditing and fines. By the end of 2020, we will lower the threshold to workplaces with 50 employees, whilst providing the necessary additional support for small businesses.

Introduce, as a right, a Citizens’ Pension based on the Dutch tax-funded model, payable at state pension age to each long-term resident and set at the Minimum Income Standard. Labour will abandon the Tories’ plans to raise the State Pension Age, leaving it at 66.

We will review retirement ages for physically arduous and stressful occupations, including shift workers, in the public and private sectors.

We will maintain the ‘triple lock’ and guarantee the Winter Fuel Payment, free TV licences and free bus passes as universal benefits.

We will stop people being auto-enrolled into rip-off schemes and seek to widen and expand access for more low-income and self-employed workers.

Reinstate universal child benefit for all children.
Value the caring work done by women. Invest in social infrastructure, including access to free universal childcare and adult social care. We will reverse cuts to Sure Start and create a new service, Sure Start Plus, with enough centres to provide a genuinely universal service, available in all communities, focused on the under-2s.

Labour will radically reform early years provision, with a two-term vision to make high-quality early years education available for every child.

Within five years, all 2, 3 and 4-year-olds will be entitled to 30 hours of free preschool education per week and access to additional hours at affordable, subsidised rates staggered with incomes.

Labour will also work to extend childcare provision for 1-year-olds and to ensure that childcare provision accommodates the working patterns of all parents.

We will provide free personal care, beginning with investments to ensure that older people have their personal care needs met, with the ambition to extend this provision to all working-age adults.

We will develop eligibility criteria that ensures our service works for everyone, including people with complex conditions like dementia.

We will ensure no one ever again needs to face catastrophic care costs of more than £100,000 for the care they need in old age, which we will underscore with a lifetime cap on personal contributions to care costs.

Improve access to the labour market for women and an end to occupational segregation. Transform the workplace and require all large employers to have flexible working, including a menopause policy, and consider changes to sickness and absence practices.

Enable positive action for recruitment to roles where employers can justify the need for more diversity and introduce a right for all workers to request flexibility over their hours from the first day of employment.

We will give working people a voice at the Cabinet table by establishing a Ministry for Employment Rights.

We will start to roll out sectoral collective bargaining across the economy, bringing workers and employers together to agree legal minimum standards on a wide range of issues, such as pay and working hours, that every employer in the sector must follow.

Prohibit redundancy in pregnancy and maternity; increased rates of Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance, the right to breastfeed at work, and reinstatement of Sure Start grants. We will ban the dismissal of pregnant women without prior approval of the inspectorate. We will extend statutory maternity pay from nine to 12 months; double paternity leave from two weeks to four and increasing statutory paternity pay.

We will ban the dismissal of pregnant women without prior approval of the inspectorate.

A day one right to flexible working. Enable positive action for recruitment to roles where employers can justify the need for more diversity and introduce a right for all workers to request flexibility over their hours from the first day of employment
Increase levels of asylum support and protection. We will uphold [international legal obligations]. Once here, refugees will have the right to work, access to public services and will be treated humanely by government at all levels.
Overhaul of the Universal Credit system to:

· End the family cap that leaves children without welfare support;

  • Scrap the rape clause that forces mothers to disclose rape or coercive control;
  • Reduce the wait for payments;
  • Allow for separate payments by default;
  • Improve work incentives for second earners;
  • Restore the disregard for Maternity Allowance.
Labour will scrap Universal Credit.

We will immediately stop moving people onto it and design an alternative system that treats people with dignity and respect.

We will also implement an emergency package of reforms to mitigate some of the worst features of UC while we develop our replacement system.

We will end the five-week wait by introducing an interim payment based on half an estimated monthly entitlement.

We will immediately suspend the Tories’ vicious sanction regime and ensure that employment support is positive not punitive.

We will stop 300,000 children from being in poverty by scrapping the benefit cap and the two child limit, so ending the immoral and outrageous ‘rape clause’.

We will pay childcare costs up front so that parents aren’t forced to turn down work or get into debt to pay for childcare. Labour will protect women in abusive relationships by splitting payments and paying the child element to the primary carer.

Restore the link between Local Housing Allowance and average rents. We will stop housing costs running away from benefits by scrapping the bedroom tax and increasing the Local Housing Allowance.

We will take urgent action to protect private renters through rent controls, open-ended tenancies, and new, binding minimum standards.

Labour will stop runaway rents by capping them with inflation, and give cities powers to cap rents further.

We will give renters the security they need to make their rented housing a home, with new open-ended tenancies to stop unfair, ‘no fault’ evictions.

Other proposals

  • Labour will work with [WASPI] women to design a system of recompense for the losses and insecurity they have suffered.

An end to violence, harassment and abuse of women and girls

Woman’s Place UK manifesto demands Labour manifesto promises
Recognise prostitution as sexually abusive exploitation which is harmful to all women and girls.
Implement the abolitionist model, criminalising those who exploit prostituted people (including pimps and sex buyers) and decriminalising the prostituted, providing practical and psychological exiting support.
Ratify the Istanbul Convention. We will ratify both the Istanbul Convention on preventing domestic abuse and the ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment at work.
Sustainable investment from national government, proportionate to demand, to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG), including single-sex support services, and specialist independent services run by and for women, BME women, migrant women, disabled women, lesbians, and services tackling FGM and other harmful practices. We will set new standards for tackling domestic and sexual abuse and violence, and appoint a Commissioner for Violence against Women and Girls.

We will establish an independent review into shamefully low rape prosecution rates.

We will establish a National Refuge Fund, ensure financial stability for rape crisis centres and reintroduce a Domestic Abuse Bill.

Create a safer society for women and prioritise domestic abuse as a health issue, introduce 10 days of paid leave for survivors of domestic abuse, and ensure women’s refuges receive the long-term sustainable funding they need.

Misogyny and violence against women and girls will become hate crimes.

Highlight and tackle the harms of pornography including the exploitation of women in its production and the hostile culture it creates for all women and girls in society. We will enforce a legal duty of care to protect our children online, impose fines on companies that fail on online abuse and empower the public with a Charter of Digital Rights.
Legislate to protect women and girls from the impact of porn culture on their lives, including clear penalties for image-based sexual abuse. We will introduce protections for victims of so-called revenge porn.
End ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ for abused migrant women, extend the Domestic Violence Rule and the Destitution and Domestic Violence Concession.


Improved access to healthcare

Woman’s Place UK manifesto demands Labour manifesto promises
Free access for all women, including women in Northern Ireland and migrant women, to NHS services, including maternity care and abortion services. We will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions.

Women in Northern Ireland should have access to abortions in Northern Ireland.

We will uphold the principle of comprehensive healthcare by providing free annual NHS dental check-ups.

We will guarantee universal healthcare by ensuring women’s and children’s health services are comprehensive, by protecting the rights of EU workers, other migrants and refugees and by ensuring all our services are made accessible to BAME, LGBT+ and disabled patients.

We will invest more than £1 billion in public health and recruit 4,500 more health visitors and school nurses.

We will increase mandated health visits, ensure new mothers can have access to breastfeeding support and introduce mental health assessments in a maternal health check six weeks after birth.

We will take actions to significantly reduce infant deaths and ensure families who lose a baby receive appropriate bereavement support as well as protections at work.

We will fully fund sexual health services.

We will abolish prescription charges in England.

Fund research and national collection of sex-specific data on women’s medical needs and the provision of woman-centred healthcare.
Implement the NHS strategy of Elimination of Mixed Sex Accommodation in hospitals We will end mixed-sex wards.


Commit to uphold right to request a female clinician, carer or support worker and to have that request respected.
Female-only services for those with sex-specific conditions, mental health, drug and alcohol problems.
Challenge the bias in design and research which is based on a male standard to ensure that the sex-based needs and health and safety of women are properly addressed.




Education & Training

Woman’s Place UK manifesto demands Labour manifesto promises
Statutory provision of fully-funded and properly resourced inclusive Relationships & Sex Education taught by trained education staff. Provide sufficient funding for schools to deliver mandatory LGBT+ inclusive relationships and sex education.
An end to the provision of education by lobby groups and untrained or unregulated providers in all state schools and colleges. All external providers should conform to a statutory code of conduct and comply with the law including the Public Sector Equality Duty.
Introduce a duty on schools and colleges to challenge harmful gender, sex and other stereotypes.
Include women’s history and women role models as part of the statutory curriculum.
Address barriers to, and encourage representation of, women and girls in STEM and other male-dominated subjects.
Restore funding for adult education, Further Education, English as a Second Language, Higher Education, recognising the disproportionate impact these cuts have had on women Labour will make lifelong learning a reality, giving everyone a free lifelong entitlement to:

· Training up to Level 3;

· six years training at Levels 4-6, with maintenance grants for disadvantaged learners.

We will restore funding for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses and restore and expand the Union Learning Fund, giving workers the right to accrue paid time off for education and training.

We will reverse the fragmentation and privatisation of further and adult education, incorporating it into a single national system of regulation.

Labour will end the failed free-market experiment in higher education, abolish tuition fees and bring back maintenance grants.

Widen access to higher education and reverse the decline of part-time learning

Robust defence of the human right to freedom of speech in academia.
Take action to end sexualised violence against girls and women in education, and train teachers to tackle VAWG in schools, colleges and universities.


Law and criminal justice system

Woman’s Place UK manifesto demands Labour manifesto promises
As a minimum, protect the human rights and laws we currently enjoy as European citizens. Take steps to safeguard LGBT+ rights inside or outside the EU, such as retaining and promoting the Human Rights Act.

We will also secure robust and legally binding protections for workers’ rights, consumer standards and environmental protections, and ensure level-playing-field protections are maintained.

Strengthen the Equality Act by restoring the statutory questionnaire; the duty to protect from third party harassment; and the power of tribunals to make wider recommendations. Enact Section 1 to compel action to reduce socio-economic disadvantage. Requiring employers to maintain workplaces free of harassment, including harassment by third parties.

We will put class at the heart of Britain’s equality agenda and create a new ground for discrimination on the basis of socio-economic disadvantage.

Enforce Public Sector Equality Duty and Equality Act, including duty on government and local authorities to carry out equality impact assessments of all new legislation.
Properly resource the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to ensure effective oversight and enforcement of the Equality Act by including clear guidance on the existing legal protections for single-sex services and a commitment to strengthening them where necessary. Ensure that the single-sex-based exemptions contained in the Equality Act 2010 are understood and fully enforced in service provision.
Enshrine UN Convention to End Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) into UK law.
Defend women’s bodily autonomy and decriminalise abortion across the UK, including Northern Ireland. We will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions.

Women in Northern Ireland should have access to abortions in Northern Ireland.

Remove barriers to the employment tribunal system including extending time limit and increasing awards. Labour will also introduce a new, unified Workers’ Protection Agency to enforce workplace rights, including the Real Living Wage. It will be given extensive powers to inspect workplaces and bring prosecutions and civil proceedings on workers’ behalf.

We will keep employment tribunals free, extend their powers, and introduce new Labour Courts with a stronger role for people with industrial experience on panels.

Better treatment by police and criminal justice system of women survivors of male violence and harassment as well as improved access to justice. We will improve the safety of the family court system for domestic violence victims and prohibit their cross-examination by their abuser.

Labour will introduce a no-fault divorce procedure.

Implement recommendations of the Lammy Review to address the disparity of treatment and outcomes for BAME people within the criminal justice system.

We will ensure better police training on domestic abuse and offences arising from coercive control, as well as historical abuses and other crimes neglected by the reduced forces operating under Tory austerity.

We will introduce minimum legal standards of service for all victims of crime.

Overhaul aggressive immigration laws and end the hostile environment policy. We will scrap the 2014 Immigration Act.. We will end [Windrush] injustices and provide fair compensation to those who have unfairly suffered.

We will end indefinite detention, review the alternatives to the inhumane conditions of detention centres, and close Yarl’s Wood and Brook House, from which immediate savings would contribute towards a fund of £20 million to support the survivors of modern slavery, people trafficking and domestic violence.

We will ensure justice for migrant domestic workers and restore the overseas domestic workers’ visa.

Ensure equal access to the social security and criminal justice system for all women who have experienced domestic abuse, including migrant women, regardless of their immigration status. We will uphold the right to a family life for British, EU and non-EU residents alike. We will end the deportation of family members of people entitled to be here and end the minimum income requirements which separate families.

We will uphold [international legal obligations]. Once here, refugees will have the right to work, access to public services and will be treated humanely by government at all levels.

End the practice by the criminal justice system of allowing offenders to self-identify their sex – particularly in relation to violent and sexual offences.
Better support and protection for women prisoners, including pregnant women and women with mental health issues. We will set new standards for community sentences and introduce a presumption against prison sentences of six months or less for non-violent and non-sexual offences.

We will invest in proven alternatives to custody, including women’s centres, expand problem-solving courts and plug the funding gap in the female offender strategy.

We will further consider the evidence for effective alternatives and rehabilitation of prolific offenders.

Implement the recommendations of the Corston and Angiolini reports and reduce the imprisonment of women.
Effective resourcing and implementation of community-based sentencing for women offenders. Where women are housed in the prison estate, accommodation must be single-sex to protect their privacy, safety and dignity.
End the detention of children and pregnant asylum seekers. We will end indefinite detention, review the alternatives to the inhumane conditions of detention centres, and close Yarl’s Wood and Brook House.
Provide adequate levels of legal aid for criminal cases, restore civil legal aid as well as aid for all immigration and asylum cases. To help people enforce their rights, we will restore all early legal aid advice, including for housing, social security, family and immigration cases.


Representation and participation in public life/media/culture/politics/sport
Woman’s Place UK manifesto demands Labour manifesto promises
Increase representation of women (especially black and minority ethnic, working class, disabled, older, younger and lesbian women) in all walks of public life, including political activities and the labour movement. Increase women’s representation across parliament by building on the Equality Act, passed by the last Labour government, and enact Section 106 so that all political parties publish diversity data about electoral candidates.

Reinstate the Access to Elected Office Fund to enable disabled people to run for elected office.

We want our political institutions to be connected fully to the wider electorate, and will take urgent steps to refresh our democracy.

Defend the use of sex-based mechanisms such as all-women shortlists. Increase women’s representation across parliament by building on the Equality Act, passed by the last Labour government, and enact Section 106 so that all political parties publish diversity data about electoral candidates.
Reinstate UK Women’s National Commission to ensure women’s voices are heard in public debate and policy making. We will establish a modernised National Women’s Commission as an independent advisory body to contribute to a Labour government.
Government inquiry into media reporting of VAWG.
Action to end sexist, demeaning, objectifying, stereotypical images of women and girls throughout society and in particular in media, arts, advertising and the political sphere.
Proactively encourage women to participate in sports, leisure and the arts. Women’s and girls’ sport should be funded to the same level as men’s and boys’ from school to elite sports. Sport must be accessible and run in the interests of those who participate in it and love it.

We will commission an independent review into discrimination in sport

Support for sex-segregated sports, promoting a level playing field for competitions and encouraging and recognising the excellence of female competitors.
Women should be supported to pursue their right to freedom of association, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Other proposals


  • We will give effect to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.


  • Implement a gender transformative approach across all our international work, including tripling funding for grassroots women’s organisations and establishing an independent ombudsman to tackle abuse in the development sector.

22nd November 2019

Our analysis of other party manifestos


Liberal Democrats




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Labour’s Values & WPUK

We believe that it is important to share a range of viewpoints on women’s rights and advancement from different perspectives. WPUK does not necessarily agree or endorse all the views that we share.