Reacting to the publication of the Casey Review into opportunity and integration Margot Parker MEP, UKIP’s Women and Equalities spokesman, said there were some long-overdue truths finally being brought into general public discourse.
Margot said: “This review should have been published months ago and I am happy to see that it has finally become public. The delay is down to an irrational fear of addressing issues which have been defined as controversial for far too long – it is far past time for them to be properly recognised and dealt with.
“When it comes to specific issues relating to women there are some deeply concerning figures. In some immigrant communities as many as 57 per cent of women are economically inactive, leaving them completely dependent on men, particularly since levels of English proficiency are often very low in the same demographic.
“This not only isolates women and girls in those communities, it leaves them vulnerable to a host of religious and cultural practices designed to keep them subservient. Beyond social pressures, we also see these women and girls left exposed to barbaric practices like female genital mutilation, forced marriage and 'honour'-based violence.
“The Casey Review quite rightly identifies institutional failings in protecting these women. It states that [institutions and government] have ignored or even condoned regressive, divisive and harmful cultural and religious practices, for fear of being branded racist or Islamophobic.’
“We cannot allow that to continue. We must energetically target the most vulnerable in closed, self-segregated communities and help them understand the legal rights and protections they have under British law, and British law must always have primacy over any cultural or religious concerns. It is part of what makes this country so great – one law for all, and all equal before it.
“We must do all we can to provide the skills for economic activity (and independence) as well as the language proficiency to empower women and girls to interact with the Britain beyond their immediate communities.
“The same goes for those who identify as LGBTQ within the same communities – they perhaps suffer even more challenges and potential dangers in ‘coming out’ in closed communities which view anything other than hetero-sexual identification as anathema.
“Happily we live in an open, tolerant and accepting society – but we must not allow ourselves to tolerate intolerance and repression out of misplaced good intentions and concerns about ‘cultural sensitivity’. We owe it to ourselves and those who have settled in this country from countries, cultures and religious viewpoints which do not have a history of equality and freedom when it comes to expression, gender, religion and sexuality to everything we can to make sure our values in these areas are communicated and adopted.”