Women are getting a raw deal as government cuts to benefits roll back the clock on years of tough campaigning for equality, according to a new report.
More than 20 charities, unions and academics have put their weight behind calls to stop eroding women’s rights, led by The Fawcett Society.
The society’s report ‘A Life Raft for Women’s Equality’ urges the government to reverse some cuts and to revise policy decisions, including:
- Restoring childcare costs for low-income families to make going to work worthwhile for women who find their finances improve when they give up a job
- Protecting funding for Sure Start children’s centres to give women the chance to work and to maintain other non-financial benefits the centres offer families
- Stopping councils from cutting services to protect women from violence
Fawcett Society chief executive Anna Bird said: “Women have not faced a greater threat to their financial security and rights in living memory. Decades of progress on equality for women are being dismantled as cuts to women’s jobs and the services they rely on turn back women’s equality.
“Women are experiencing greater hardship; for those families affected the cuts to women’s jobs, services and benefits will represent a personal loss.”
“There are signs of hope that the government realises its economic strategy isn’t working for women. Our report identifies a series of targeted and achievable policy measures that could be adopted by or at the 2012 budget, which together offer a life raft for women’s equality – and never has the need been so great.”
Signatories to the report include UNISON, the Child Poverty Action Group and Gingerbread,
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “We need urgent action to stop women being ground down by the government’s devastating cuts. Two-thirds of public sector workers are women, who are most likely to rely on these vital services.
“Women are being hit hard by unemployment, the rising cost of living and cuts to benefits and services to young people.”