Leanne Wood, Liz Saville Roberts and Jill Evans unite to celebrate the gains made in the battle for women’s rights over the last century whilst also highlighting the importance of protecting the rights gained through EU legislation.
Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood said:
"International Women’s Day is not just a time for celebration of women’s achievements but also a time for reflection.
"It is a time to realise that there is still much more to do if we are to achieve gender equality. While acknowledging that there is more to achieve, we cannot pretend that there are not existing threats to the hard-fought rights women have achieved to date.
"In the last century, a strong band of women put their lives on the line, quite literally, to achieve universal suffrage. They weren’t afraid.
"They were not prepared to accept being treated as a second class citizen. A century on and we are still striving for gender equality and an end to violence against women and many more equality measures."
The Rhondda AM added:
"I am proud to call myself a feminist and I will join millions of others around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day."
Whilst Liz Saville Roberts the MP for Dwyfor Meirionydd said:
"Serious concerns remain about the potential impact leaving the European Union will have on women’s rights and the government’s intentions of defending them.
"Women need firm assurances from the government that fundamental rights such as equal pay and the rights of pregnant women at work will be protected post-Brexit.
"It’s also time for us as a society to adjust our own values. Why are those roles that are traditionally associated with women so undervalued?
"Why should being a city high-flyer or maintaining machinery have such high status and better pay, than caring for people in their old age?
"No young person should ever be prevented from reaching their goals because of their gender. I think we’d all agree. But what is more important is how society enables girls to imagine their goals."
Jill Evans MEP highlighted some of the ways the European Union has furthered the cause of gender equality:
"As a former Vice Chair of the Women's Rights & Equal Opportunities Committee, I've seen at first hand the positive effects of EU policies and projects aimed at creating gender equality.
"Being part of the EU has ensured that women and children have protections against violence, has provided frameworks to protect parental leave and to protect part-time workers, most of whom are women, from exploitation.
"Currently the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development fund aid access to employment, career progression, equal pay for equal work, as well as investment in the provision of childcare infrastructure.
"Losing these funds would mean that women’s charities and organisations in Wales may lose much of their funding. But what is even more worrying is that without the framework that currently protects the rights of women, the UK government could have free reign to roll back the rights that women have won.
"We must work together in Wales to ensure that current rights are maintained. In the current political climate this is more important than ever."