Earnings: Mothers and Fathers Debate

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Department: Department for Education

Earnings: Mothers and Fathers

Baroness Lister of Burtersett Excerpts
Wednesday 13th March 2024

(3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I thank my noble friend for his question. We can all imagine how successful “Lehman Sisters” would still be. The Government have long supported an independent, business-led, voluntary approach to increasing the participation of women in senior roles, both in relation to start-ups, with the Rose review, and, most recently, with the FTSE Women Leaders Review, which has set new voluntary targets for the FTSE 350 for both board and leadership representation.

Baroness Lister of Burtersett Portrait Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab)
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My Lords, there is general agreement that key to reducing the pay gap between mothers and fathers is more fathers taking parental leave. The Government’s shared parental leave scheme has been an abysmal failure. What are the Government going to do about it?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I do not accept that it has been an abysmal failure. I appreciate that the numbers are still modest, but they are definitely going in the right direction, with 13,000 couples taking shared parental leave in 2021-22, up from 6,200 in 2015-16. Clearly, this is part of a broader cultural shift. The noble Baroness may wish the Government to enforce everything, but this Government do not wish to.