The leader of the Women’s Equality Party (WE) Sophie Walker has backed The Independent’s campaign for a referendum on the final deal with the EU, arguing “women’s needs were ignored by privileged white men on both sides of Brexit”.
Ms Walker is urging her 45,000 members to back a second vote at her party’s conference this weekend, saying it would be the first poll ”to involve women’s day to day experiences and address their concerns”.
Analysis by the University of Loughborough found men dominated 85 per cent of press coverage and 75 per cent of television time in the run-up to the 2016 referendum on EU membership.
The Independent’s petition calling on Theresa May to call a vote on the final Brexit deal has been signed by more than 700,000 people. The campaign is backed by key political figures including Gina Miller, Vince Cable and Justine Greening.
“During the referendum, the boys’ club sat and debated itself and as a ‘them and us’ narrative took hold. Our media reflects and entrenches the same imbalance as our political system,” Ms Walker wrote in The Independent.
“Women’s needs were ignored by privileged white men on both sides of Brexit. During the referendum, the boys’ club sat and debated itself and as a ‘them and us’ narrative took hold.”
The WE leader said women would be disproportionately affected by Brexit, since they were most vulnerable to economic downturns and performed the vast majority of care jobs.
“Women are bearing 86 per cent of the burden of the government’s tax and benefit changes – at a cost of £79bn to them, compared with £13bn for men,” she said.
“This has happened because successive governments have constructed an economy that doesn’t see the unpaid, invisible labour that underpins it, or the women who undertake that labour.
“Thanks to Boris, Nigel, Michael, George and David, the Department of Health is forecasting in the next five years a shortage in carers for our children and the elderly, if EU migrants are banned from working here.
“The government is expecting women to drop out of work to prop up a no-deal or a bad deal. Sorry boys, not on my watch.”
A recent poll by YouGov for the People’s Vote campaign found women backed staying the European Union by a 12-point margin.
Almost three-quarters of women (73 per cent) are concerned promises made by politicians will be broken, while only 13 per cent of women think it is likely Britain will manage to secure a good deal before it leaves the bloc, the poll found.
The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.