General Election: Conservative manifesto 2019

We have looked at the proposals made by the Conservative 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 the Conservative manifesto itself for more details.

Read our analysis of the Liberal Democrat manifesto and the Labour manifesto.

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?

There is no mention of them.

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


Economic Status

Woman’s Place UK manifesto demands Conservative 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.
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. We will keep the triple lock, the winter fuel payment, the older person’s bus pass and other pensioner benefits, ensuring that older people have the security and dignity they deserve.
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 establish a new £1 billion fund to help create more high quality, affordable childcare, including before and after school and during the school holidays

As a first step [to improving the social care system] and to stabilise the system, we announced in the autumn additional funding of £1 billion for the year beginning in April 2020. We are now confirming this additional funding in every year of the new Parliament.

We will also extend the entitlement to leave for unpaid carers, the majority of whom are women, to one week.

Improve access to the labour market for women and an end to occupational segregation.
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.
A day one right to flexible working. We will encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to.

We will legislate to allow parents to take extended leave for neonatal care, to support those new mothers and fathers who need it during the most vulnerable and stressful days of their lives.

And we will look at ways to make it easier for fathers to take paternity leave

Increase levels of asylum support and protection.
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.
We will continue the roll-out of Universal Credit, which combines multiple benefits into one while building a clearer pathway from welfare into work.

We will also end the benefit freeze, while making sure it pays to work more hours.

To help those looking after family members, especially women, we will support the main carer in any household receiving the Universal Credit payment. [This will] give greater independence to individuals, most often women, trapped with coercive partners

And we will continue our efforts through the tax and benefits system to reduce poverty, including child poverty.

We are maintaining our commitment to free school meals.

Restore the link between Local Housing Allowance and average rents.

Other proposals  

  • A number of workers, disproportionately women, who earn between £10,000 and £12,500 have been missing out on pension benefits because of a loophole affecting people with net pay pension schemes. We will conduct a comprehensive review to look at how to fix this issue.
  • We will use our freedom from the EU to improve the UK’s tax regime – not least by abolishing the tampon tax.

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

Woman’s Place UK manifesto demands Conservative 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.
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 support all victims of domestic abuse and pass the Domestic Abuse Bill.

We will increase support for refuges and community support for victims of rape and sexual abuse.

We will pilot integrated domestic abuse courts that address criminal and family matters in parallel.

We will continue to fight crime against women and girls, including rape, Female Genital Mutilation and forced marriage.

Our support for the main carer receiving Universal Credit will help give greater independence to individuals, most often women, trapped with coercive partners.

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.
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 legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online – protecting children from online abuse and harms, protecting the most vulnerable from accessing harmful content,
End ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ for abused migrant women, extend the Domestic Violence Rule and the Destitution and Domestic Violence Concession.

Other proposals

  • We will protect people from physical attack or harassment whether for their sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability, and expand funding for and protect places of worship.
  • We will vigorously combat harassment and violence against all religious groups, and against LGBT people.

Improved access to healthcare

Woman’s Place UK manifesto demands Conservative 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 clamp down on health tourism, ensuring that those from overseas who use NHS services pay their fair share. And we will increase the NHS surcharge paid by those from overseas. We will require new arrivals to contribute to the funding of the NHS and will increase the health surcharge to ensure it covers the full cost of use.

We will make the NHS the best place in the world to give birth through personalised, high-quality support.

Fund research and national collection of sex-specific data on women’s medical needs and the provision of woman-centred healthcare. We will improve the quality of evidence and data within Government about the types of barriers different groups face, ensuring that fairness is at the heart of everything we do.
Implement the NHS strategy of Elimination of Mixed Sex Accommodation in hospitals
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 Conservative manifesto promises
Statutory provision of fully-funded and properly resourced inclusive Relationships & Sex Education taught by trained education staff.
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 We are…investing almost £2 billion to upgrade the entire further education college estate. And we’ll also have 20 Institutes of Technology, which connect high-quality teaching in science, technology, engineering and maths to business and industry.

We will boost English language teaching to empower existing migrants and help promote integration into society.

The Augar Review made thoughtful recommendations on tuition fee levels, the balance of funding between universities, further education and apprenticeships and adult learning, and we will consider them carefully. We will look at the interest rates on loan repayments with a view to reducing the burden of debt on students.

We will invest in local adult education and require the Office for Students to look at universities’ success in increasing access across all ages, not just young people entering full-time undergraduate degrees.

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

Other proposals


  • We will stand up for the right of every girl in the world to have 12 years of quality education.

Law and criminal justice system

Woman’s Place UK manifesto demands Conservative manifesto promises
As a minimum, protect the human rights and laws we currently enjoy as European citizens.
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.  
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.
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.
Remove barriers to the employment tribunal system including extending time limit and increasing awards.
Better treatment by police and criminal justice system of women survivors of male violence and harassment as well as improved access to justice.
Overhaul aggressive immigration laws and end the hostile environment policy. [We will introduce] a firmer and fairer Australian-style points-based immigration system, so that we can decide who comes to this country on the basis of the skills they have and the contribution they can make – not where they come from.

We will continue to grant asylum and support to refugees fleeing persecution, with the ultimate aim of helping them to return home if it is safe to do so

We will maintain our support for a memorial recognising the contribution of the Windrush Generation in a prominent site in London.

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. Migrants will contribute to the NHS – and pay in before they can receive benefits.

People coming into the country from the EU will only be able to access unemployment, housing, and child benefit after five years, in the way non-EEA migrants currently do

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.
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. A firmer and fairer Australian-style points-based immigration system, so that we can decide who comes to this country on the basis of the skills they have and the contribution they can make – not where they come from.
End the detention of children and pregnant asylum seekers.
Provide adequate levels of legal aid for criminal cases, restore civil legal aid as well as aid for all immigration and asylum cases.


Representation and participation in public life/media/culture/politics/sport

Woman’s Place UK manifesto demands Conservative 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. We will ensure that no one is put off from engaging in politics or standing in an election by threats, harassment or abuse, whether in person or online.
Defend the use of sex-based mechanisms such as all-women shortlists.
Reinstate UK Women’s National Commission to ensure women’s voices are heard in public debate and policy making.
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.
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. We will champion freedom of expression and tolerance, both in the UK and overseas.

24th November 2019

Our analysis of other party manifestos


Liberal Democrats



Related articles

‘Gender’ pay gap letter to Penny Mordaunt WPUK April 2019

Meetings with Government WPUK December 2018

Government commitments on single sex exemptions WPUK June 2018



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.