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Philip Booth: Nicky Morgan wants to chain every woman to the workplace


Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs, has responded to the article by Nicky Morgan, Minister for Women and Equalities, published by ConservativeHome. Booth concludes that the Minister is in a dreadful muddle with her materialistic and feminist insistence that women should spend even longer in the workplace. She takes no account of the fact that the main virtue of a market economy is that it maximises people’s opportunities to pursue their lives as they see fit. Men and women make choices about where they work, how many hours and how they balance the competing demands of domestic and professional life. Women must be free to make the choices that suit their individual tastes and circumstance. 

Nicky Morgan wrote an article on ConHome recently which revealed the true colours of modern feminism. The article is based on a great deal of economic ignorance and a hyper-materialistic moral outlook.

Random political attacks

The article began, “Today, Labour is holding its very own ‘women’s conference’. This comes on top of having the party having its own pink bus, their own women’s manifesto…Our approach is different. As Conservatives, we don’t believe there is such a thing as ‘women’s issues’.”

I have no particular view on how political parties should organise these things. However, Morgan’s statement is completely incorrect. The Conservative Women’s Organisation is part of the Conservative Party’s structure and has as one of its objectives: “Campaigning on issues of particular concern to women”. It also organises its own conference. Nicky Morgan should be aware of this organisation because she is speaking at one of their conference fringe meetings next week.

Women seen as producers of material goods

Morgan then continued: “Equalising women’s productivity and employment to the same level as men’s could add almost £600 billion to our economy, clearing a third of our national debt. And if all the women who wanted to work more hours worked just one extra hour each week, it would contribute 80 million more hours a year in productivity.”

Firstly, 80 million hours of extra work does not increase productivity (productivity relates to the amount that is produced per hour, not the number of hours worked – indeed, working extra hours is likely to reduce productivity). But, moreover, what on earth does the statement mean? How can an increase in productivity by one segment of society clear the national debt?  What is the mechanism? How does the £600 billion in extra production each and every year relate to a stock of debt of £1.4 trillion?

Read the full article on the Conservative Home website.


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Philip Booth
Philip Booth
Philip Booth is the Editorial and Programme Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank

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