The Government believes that the benefits system has “trapped too many families and children in welfare dependency” however, for many women this system is a lifeline that enables them to support themselves and their families.
CEDAW Article 13 – Social and economic benefits
Article 13 of CEDAW expressly requires that women have equal access to family benefits, forms of financial credit, including mortgages, and the same rights as men to participate in recreational activities and cultural life.
Article 13 says:
“States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in other areas of economic and social life in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights, in particular:
(a) The right to family benefits;
(b) The right to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit;
(c) The right to participate in recreational activities, sports and all aspects of cultural life.”
Rising unemployment, falling wages and cuts to benefits are pushing many women from a situation of being able to just about make ends meet into financial hardship and poverty. The changes to the welfare system in the UK will have hugely disproportionate impacts on women and force many into financial insecurity and even homelessness unless addressed as the Women’s Budget Group have found in their analyses of the Budgets since 2010. £14.9 billion worth of cuts per year have been made to welfare payments, 74% of these savings are being taken from women’s incomes.
The impact on certain groups of women is particularly acute with single mothers, disabled, older and ethnic minority women seeing their incomes and services reduced as the cost of living increases and in-work poverty becomes more common. The introduction of the Universal Credit in particular threatens to significantly reduce the incomes of 150,000 the UK’s poorest single working mothers and actively discourage mothers in couples from seeking paid employment where their partner is already in work/is seeking work.
These proposals will concentrate financial resources and power into the hands of one person which may exacerbate existing gender inequalities and measures such as the Universal Credit will see women trapped in violent relationships with no where to turn for support as the funding for support services diminishes. We would like to know how the Government will address this to ensure that the introduction of Universal Credit does not increase gender inequality and trap women in poverty and violence by reducing their economic independence?
It is still the case that the poorest pay more of their incomes in tax than the richest and despite pleading necessity for cuts to social welfare, the Government felt able to give away potential tax revenue by reducing corporation tax to 25%, extending rate relief for businesses until April 2013 and granting 50% tax relief on business start ups.
We would like to know how the Government will ensure that the disproportionate impact of its current welfare policies on women, in particular single mothers, is mitigated against? A full gender equality impact assessment should be conducted on the additional wide ranging cap on benefits announced in the 2012 Autumn Statement this week, to ensure that women are not again bearing the brunt of these decisions.
Ahhh that’s my face! That’s my video!
Also please read the blog post (not by me) underneath, especially if you live in the UK, as this is really important stuff.
No To Rises in Tuition Fees!…oh wait.
Sorry for the hasty (and appallingly framed =/) video - had dissertation due in this week and a lovely lot of exams to revise for so am a bit short of time!
http://www.nus.org.uk/en/campaigns/womens/cut-to-the-quick/ - excellent overview
We’re all in this together
My lighting tactic for this video was apparently to shine a lamp AT MY FACE.
Apologies for lateness again. Unfortunately Holly’s internet is down too so you just get my late-face today instead.
Women and the Cuts Toolkit for campaigners: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/sociology/rsw/research_centres/gender/women…
False Economy on how UK cuts are reversing women’s equality:http://falseeconomy.org.uk/blog/dont-let-the-cuts-turn-back-time-on-womens-equality
The Fawcett Society on ‘The Triple Jeopardy’ women face from austerity measures: http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=1208
More on ‘The Triple Jeopardy’: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/mar/18/public-sector-cuts-hit-pru…
How cuts are forcing domestic violence refuges to turn victims away: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jan/31/domestic-violence-victims-risk-…
Female unemployment at the highest it’s been in 25 years: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/18/uk-unemployment-women-out-of-work-…
I hate linking to them but even the Daily Mail thinks things are bad: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2123167/Coalition-spending-cuts-hitti…
Unemployment for young black Britons more than double that of whites: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/05/young-black-unemployed-tr…
Disabled people face unlimited unpaid work or cuts in benefit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/feb/16/disabled-unpaid-work-benefit-cuts
How the Welfare Reform Bill will directly affect the most vulnerable families: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/16/welfare-reform-terrified-…
How the Welfare Reform Bill ‘penalises cancer patients’: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/mar/09/welfare-bill-cancer-patients
Those Pesky Dames: