Women’s Report – Robina Sheikh
The March Budget 2012 – a lost opportunity to put women at the heart of jobs and growth as part of wider economic recovery
“The Equalities Minister and others have pledged to put women at the heart of the economic recovery. Today’s budget not only failed to set out how this would happen, but signalled a further round of dramatic and drastic spending cuts that are likely disproportionately to impact on women and add to inequality.” Anna Bird, Deputy Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society
A female – unfriendly government
Unison has shown that 625 public sector jobs had been lost every day since the coalition was formed, which amounts to one job loss every two minutes and 18 seconds.
On the 14th March 2012 official figures showed of the 28,000 who were newly jobless in the final three months of 2011, 22,000 were women – a staggering 79%. Eight out of ten jobs lost in the last quarter came from women as the number of women out of work has hit a 25 year high and is still rising.
What’s been clear over the last few years is that as unemployment has risen to 2.67 million women are not just bearing the brunt of cuts but are also now bearing the brunt of job losses.
The coalition government has become known as the most ‘female-unfriendly’ in living memory. Women are being disproportionately hit by cuts in family and community services, specific support services in childcare and domestic violence, tax credits and benefits, pay freezes, pension reforms and the massive jobs cull in the public sector where women make up a substantial part of the workforce, often in low paid and part time work.
The budget is a lost opportunity to introduce measures that would tackle female unemployment and provide a boost to women’s incomes and opportunities.
Turning the clock back on women’s equality
The budget confirms that the government is rushing ahead with new policies which will create an unprecedented reversal in the progress that has been made on equality between women and men. Furthermore the budget today will do nothing to help stop time turning back on women’s equality.
Unison believes that the reversal of women’s equality can only be stopped if the government commits itself to properly impact assess how the cuts and budget changes disproportionately affect women. We set out here evidence of those disproportionalities and show how the reversal of government policies would place women back at the heart of the economic recovery and retain the progress in women’s equalities.
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