Archbishop of York: ‘working poor’ “a stain on the conscience of this country”

On 25th June 2014, Labour Peer Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to address any fall in wages of women in the United Kingdom. The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu,asked a supplementary question:

Archbishop of YorkThe Archbishop of York: My Lords, the Living Wage Commission published its final report yesterday. It makes it clear that people in the care industry are paid very poorly—and the majority happen to be women. Will the Government take a reality check and recognise that people in the care professions are paid poorly? Will they make sure that, in terms of procurement, local authorities encourage those in the care profession to pay at least the living wage, which we wanted to be voluntary and not compulsory? If that does not happen, concern about women being paid poorly will continue. It is a stain on the conscience of this country that people work hard and are still in poverty.

Baroness Northover: I read the report of the most reverend Primate’s commission with enormous interest. I note that he has just said that he is looking for a voluntary approach rather than regulation, but he challenges responsible employers to pay a fair wage. He is right to identify the difference in pay between men and women.


MPs Celebrate Contribution of Women to the Ordained Ministry of the Church of England

In Westminster Hall on Thursday 20th March 2014, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP led a short debate on the role and contribution of women to the ordained ministry of the Church of England. 14.03.20 WH debate 4The debate celebrated the 20th anniversary of the ordination of the first women as priests in the CofE and looked ahead, both to the ongoing process to legislate for female bishops, as well as enabling them to sit in the House of Lords without delay. Sir Tony Baldry MP responded in his capacity as Second Church Estates Commissioner, and contributions were made by Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP and Helen Goodman MP. The Equalities Minister Helen Grant MP was also present to hear the speeches.

A full transcript is reproduced here and a recording of the debate can also be watched on the UK Parliament website here. Continue reading “MPs Celebrate Contribution of Women to the Ordained Ministry of the Church of England”

Women in the Church: Bishop of Chester’s speech in Lords debate on International Women’s Day

The Bishop of Chester spoke during the International Women’s Day debate on the contribution of women in the economic life of the United Kingdom and worldwide. He updated the House on the progress being made by the Church of England to allow the consecration of women as bishops, and used the example of this process to examine the challenges faced by many women in the economy to be accepted in their own right. He also spoke of the role of women in the wider life of the church.

14.03 Bishop of ChesterThe Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, the noble Baroness could well have said, “Bishops’ Benches: 26 men, no women”, but I am glad that she did not, although I am sure that others will. I rise with an appropriate hesitancy as the first male speaker in a debate in which only 22% of the speakers will be men. The majority of those listening are also women, which is a pity. However, I look forward to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Palumbo, whom I can only describe as a fellow Daniel in the lion’s den on this occasion.

Indeed, those who inhabit these Benches might be seen as somewhat handicapped in advocating the fuller involvement of women in the wider life of our society. As we are regularly reminded, ours are the only Benches from which women are currently excluded. I hope that I can say something today about that and about the wider significance of the struggles of the church over the full involvement of women in its life. Continue reading “Women in the Church: Bishop of Chester’s speech in Lords debate on International Women’s Day”