Women's equality: clock is turning back as cuts bite, says Fawcett Society

(102 Posts)
ttosca Fri 18-Nov-11 11:24:51

Life-raft policies must be drawn up to counter worst threat 'in living memory' to women's hard-won rights, says charity

Women's financial security and human rights are under attack on a scale not seen in "living memory" due to the coalition's austerity measures, according to a report released today.

Backed by more than 20 charities, unions and academics, the report by the Fawcett Society shows how the cuts are pushing women out of the workforce, driving down their income and undermining hard-won access to justice and protection from violence.

The report, A Life Raft for Women's Equality, offers key policy recommendations to reverse the impact the cuts will have on women's jobs, benefits and key services as state services are withdrawn.

The report is published on the same day that the home secretary, Theresa May – who is also minister for women and equalities – outlines the government's approach to women and the economy.

May will announce an ambitious plan to recruit and train 5,000 volunteer business mentors to help women who want to start or grow their own businesses.

"Business people tell us that they want to take advice from other business people. So the business mentors will be experienced individuals who can provide tailored advice and support. They will be a huge help to women entrepreneurs," May is to say.

Anna Bird, acting chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: "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.

"Women have not faced a greater threat to their financial security and rights in living memory. Decades of steady, albeit slow, progress on equality is being dismantled, as cuts to women's jobs and the benefits and services they rely on, turn back time on women's equality."

The number of women out of work is at a 23-year high, with cutbacks in the public sector hitting women particularly hard: two-thirds of the 130,000 jobs lost in local authorities since the first quarter of 2010 were held by women.

"Women up and down the country are experiencing greater hardship. For those families affected, the cuts to women's jobs, services and benefits will represent a personal loss," said Bird. "But we must add to this the cost to wider society as women's opportunities are scaled back.

"Fewer women working, a widening gap in pay between women and men, entrenchment of outdated gender roles at work and at home, and women being forced into a position where they must increasingly rely on a main breadwinner or the state for financial subsidy – this is the picture that emerges when the many policies of economic austerity are stitched together."

The report calls on the government to restore support for childcare costs for low-income families to the level before April 2011. This, says Bird, would "help ensure paid employment makes financial sense for the many low-income women who've found they are better off not working".

Another recommendation is ring-fencing funds for Sure Start centres. "This would further protect women's access to employment and shore up the other vital benefits these centres offer thousands of families," said Bird.

The society calls on the coalition to stop local authorities from treating violence against women services as a soft touch for cuts. "We need to ensure some of the most vulnerable women in the UK have access to the support they need," said Bird.

Signatories to the report include Eaves Housing for Women, the End Violence Against Women coalition, Unison, Child Poverty Action Group, Daycare Trust, White Ribbon Campaign UK, and Rape Crisis.

"We need urgent action to stop women being ground down by the government's devastating cuts," said Dave Prentis, Unison's general secretary. "Women's jobs and pensions are under serious attack. They are being hit hard by unemployment, the rising cost of living and cuts to benefits and services to young people."

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, agreed. "Child poverty and the incomes and services women are able to access are intrinsically linked. The vast majority of child benefit is received by women, whether as the main carer in a couple, or as a single parent.

"It is hugely unfair that such a large burden of the government's cuts should be falling on the shoulders of women and children, and it would be profoundly wrong if these unfair cuts to child benefit became permanent."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "Fairness is facing up to the reality of the financial situation we are in and not leaving our children to pick up the bill. This government is protecting services for the most vulnerable and focusing resources where they are most needed and most effective.

"We are taking 1.1 million of the lowest-paid workers – most of whom are women – out of income tax altogether, introducing flexible parental leave and extending flexible working, and taking action to reduce the gender pay gap."

• This article was amended on 4 November 2011. It originally stated that extra money was being made available by the government for the business mentoring scheme. This has been corrected.


moondog Fri 18-Nov-11 20:01:50

What complete and utter drivel.

GeekLove Fri 18-Nov-11 21:07:58

Would you care to elaborate moondog?
After all there is the Child Benefit cap, the cuts to Sure Start centres and the cuts to children and Youth services and access to funded childcare places. Not to mention the cuts to public service jobs to which women represent the majority of the workforce. Not to mention the Big Society with the expectation that essential services like rural transport, elderly social care and maintenance of green spaces are to be provided by unpaid volunteers, undermining those currently doing such work in paid employment.

moondog Fri 18-Nov-11 21:34:46

Why are these considered wimmins' issues in the 1st place? hmm
Aren't you being rather sexist in assuming men have no interest or stake in so called cuts to youth and children's srvices.

Sure Start was a complete waste of time and money in any case-and I speak as one who was intimatley involved in it.

GeekLove Fri 18-Nov-11 22:37:23

No but women still tend to be the primary caregivers. There is a reason why most single parents tend to be women after all.
Although recent changes to maternity leave have made it possible in principle for parents to share time off after a child is born, workplace culture still has a long way to catch up particuarly for men wanting to be more proactive as SAHPs in thr early months. My husband experienced this within the past year when he took two weeks off for DS2.

As for Sure Start they where one of the best things to come out of the last government. I and others have found them to be very useful in terms of places to take babies and meet other parents, get involved in the local community and get advice and contact with childcare professionals if needed.
Already they are being cut and I hate to think that the changes that have made in areas are going to be reversed.

smallwhitecat Fri 18-Nov-11 22:41:48

Message withdrawn

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 08:31:32

Exactly SWC.

It's all poor vulnerable ladies us fit only for the sweepings of the factory floor and then throwing a tantrum if the trappings of the state are eased off slightly.

Moreover, anyone who refers to themselves with a straight face as a 'primary caregiver' needs a swift kick up the arse for crimes against the Elglish language.

You have a kid, you get a job. Unsurprisingly, the job stil lneeds to be done, much as many would like an entire career to revolve around their trips to the local Sure Start centre for bany massage classes.

I am staggered at how flexible my own (public sector) job is to the needs of parents. I sometimes feel my many colleagues treat the job to be done as a minor irritant in their busy lives.

smallwhitecat Sat 19-Nov-11 13:55:37

Message withdrawn

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:05:45

I am a public sector worker and there is no flexibility for parents of either gender. In fact such is the lack of flexibility that often teachers at our school have a partner who works part time or not at all. Most of the women in senior positions are childless and the men in similar positions have a wife/ partner at home full time.

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:08:37

In fact the only flexibility which admittedly was a great one - leaving at 4pm has now gone.

When the official school day ends we are expected to book meetings, run detentions, revision classes etc.

The only flexibility I have now is that I can leave work at 6pm with piles of work which I can choose to do after my dd has gone to bed rather than stay in school.

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 14:09:21

But of course you have weeks and weeks and weeks of holidays.
A fair trade off against the fact that in term time you need (God forbid!) to be there for pupils.

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:14:10

I do have weeks of holidays , that is a very fair point .

I also make no pretence of doug very much work in them.

I just object to the stereotype that in he public sector we have it all out own way and expect our job to fit around our lives.

During term time my family have to fit around my job.

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:14:51

I don't see the need for the God Forbid comment.

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 14:18:01

I do.
You're a classic example of one who bristles at the imposition of work on her private life.

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 14:18:53

'During term time my family have to fit around my job.'

So they bloody well should.
My family fit around my job every day of the week-as they should.

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:22:49

At the moment I am annoyed at the imposition of my work life on my home life as every day this week I have worked from 7 am until gone midnight .

I have barely spoken to my child, have had to miss a performance she begged me to see as I missed the last three due to work commitments.

I don't think that makes me unreasonable or a workshy bleating whinger who lack commitment to my job.

bemybebe Sat 19-Nov-11 14:23:13

I am afraid we all, public or private, have to fit our lives around our jobs. I rarely left work before 7pm having started at 7am (or even earlier).

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 14:24:45

That's life TT.
I have missed or had to cancel many things to do with family and friends as a result of my life.
I see it as completely normal.

bemybebe Sat 19-Nov-11 14:26:00

"I rarely left work before 7pm having started at 7am (or even earlier)." And this is in 10 years, not just "this week".

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:27:11

We are different people moondog, I never imagined as a parent that my child would feel that she came second to the children I teach - she does .

I never thought that as a parent I would spend every working evening shut away in an office whilst my family carried on without me.

I never thought I would feel it necessary to plan my own fertility around the rest of my department and exam timetables- but I work I that kind of environment.

If that makes me a shit employee I take the shame.

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 14:28:09

TT, if you assume you have to plan your sex life and conception around your job I suspect you are deeliberately playing the martyr.

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:31:26

I said this week for working from 7 am until gone midnight.

Every day during term time I am at my desk from 7 an until 6 - 6.30pm and then have to do a further couple of hours at home . That is just life and I accept that. Usually I start working again at 9pm and work through until midnight and have no problem with that as is have time with my daughter.

Recently i have had to work straight through. That bristles me.

smallwhitecat Sat 19-Nov-11 14:32:37

Message withdrawn

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:33:22

No it is not about being a martyr. I work in a department full of women of child bearing age, if we all took maternity leave at the same time it would be a disaster, that is common sense.

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 14:33:39

Amen to that swc grin

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:35:20

Surely we want time with our children, when has that become a bad thing .

I find it bordering ridiculous that I spend my life working so hard to help other people's children while my own child would get ignored if it wasn't for my partner.

nailak Sat 19-Nov-11 14:41:23

Sure start centres also provide Esol lessons, health drives, benefit, housing and career advice, fb writing workshops etc, at a place which is easily accessible, and welcoming to.the most vulnerable women, many also support childmindeers and act as a.first stop shop.for those needing a childminder, or help filling in neg2 forms etc, which obviously supports return to to.work.

To me and my community surestart is invaluable.

Also twinkly my mum is a teacher and I felt the same.

bemybebe Sat 19-Nov-11 14:46:09

"Also twinkly my mum is a teacher and I felt the same."
My mum was an engineer and I felt the same. And she did not even get the guaranteed time off during our school holidays, dbro and I were shipped over various grandmums for the duration.

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:46:49

I know changes to paternity leave are ahead but the greatest thing that would help me would be an ability for me to transfer my maternity leave to dp.

I am the main wage earner and therefore we cannot afford for my wage to drop at all. So my maternity leave will have to be minimal. It would suit us better if do could take the leave .

edam Sat 19-Nov-11 14:47:58

If you want to know how much this government despises women, just look at the legal aid cuts. There's complete intransigence over the decision to abolish legal aid for domestic violence except in all but a tiny number of cases, after the victim has jumped through numerous hoops. They won't even acknowledge there is anything to discuss, let alone discuss it.

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:49:04

I am not trying to claim it is just a teacher thing . I have often said on here that teaching is not the hardest job in the world and why would I want to claim that.

But something has gone very wrong in society, we are working more and more and seeking our children less and less. We are storing up problems for the future IMO.

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 14:52:19

Good point bemybabe I can remember as as child that although my parents did not work the long hours in the evening that I do , I spent all the holidays in my house on my own , cooking and running the home from about 9 I think.

My dd does not have to do that and she is lucky. At the end if each summer holiday she is so much happier and well behaved and often begs me to not go back to work.

bemybebe Sat 19-Nov-11 14:56:59

I remember begging my dm to not go back to work when I was little (below 7y0). I really hated it. However, the culture of my family and circle of our friends did not allow for her to choose to be sahm, if it did I think she would. I was happy to work really heard in my 20s and 30s, but now that I am needed at home I am happy to take 80% hit on the household income and stay at home instead...

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 14:57:37

'I find it bordering ridiculous that I spend my life working so hard to help other people's children while my own child would get ignored if it wasn't for my partner.'

So time with you is more valuable than time spent with your partner? hmm

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 14:59:19

'we are working more and more and seeking our children less and less'

That's nonsense.
Peopel worked all the hours God sent until recently.
The concept of leisure for anyone but the arostocracy is largely a 20/21C construct.

If teaching so family unfriendly as you claim, one wonders why it is crammed with women.

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 15:01:53

'Sure start centres also provide... fb writing workshops.'

Is that a joke?
If so, all the more reason to close them down.

bemybebe Sat 19-Nov-11 15:03:34

I was hmm also moondog... bizarre idea.

smallwhitecat Sat 19-Nov-11 15:12:24

Message withdrawn

breadandbutterfly Sat 19-Nov-11 15:27:54

You're not a historian, are you, moondog?

On the contrary, with a brief blip in the 19th century, people certainly did not work every hour of every day. Leisure did not exist as a concept BECAUSE full-time work as we have now did not exist either, so there was no artificial division. Pre the Industrial Revolution, everyone worked at or near where they lived, with families close by. The families worked together and helped - children as well as adults. Work was seasonal and influenced by daylight hours and harvest etc calendars - people didn't work till late all year round, because they would have been working in the dark, in bare fields, had they tried to do so.

The modern idea of both parents working minimum 9-5 in a soul-destroying job, away from their loved ones, and children separated at school for long hours is actually much more restrictive than most of human history - urbanisation and the growth of factories etc allowed this kind of work to begin. It is not a given.

smallwhitecat Sat 19-Nov-11 15:42:01

Message withdrawn

ttosca Sat 19-Nov-11 15:53:29

breadandbutterlfy is absolutely right. Working a soul-destroying 7am-7pm job is a historical anomaly.

Furthermore, it's not just pre-industrial society. For the majority of the 20th Century, thanks in large part to social and political struggles of the working class, households could support themselves on one income - including bringing up kids.

While of course it is great that women now have the choice to enter the workforce and start potentially earning enough to live independently and earn good money, thanks largely to neo-liberal economic policies, this has now become a necessity rather than choice.

That is to say, households now require to working people to bring up children with a reasonable standard of living. This was not always the case.

ttosca Sat 19-Nov-11 15:59:50


You have some sort of twisted logic. The Fawcett society is not 'accepting the status quo' in the sense that is promoting women to stay in public sector jobs, or being paid less, or anything else of the sort.

They are simply recognizing the facts as they are: women have it harder in the workplace than men. They are paid less on average for the same job, fill more lower-paid positions, and are the recipients of more sexual harassment and discrimination at work.

Denying that this is the case isn't going to help women. You can't 'magic' women in to better conditions by sticking your head in the sand and deny that there are problems.

Promoting the welfare of women, who are currently at a disadvantage, is the best way of brining about equality and from removing them from being second-class workers in society.

That's why it's both perfectly valid and reasonable to point out the way the austerity cuts will adversely affect women. It will exacerbate the conditions of a set of people who are already at a disadvantage. If you want to help women, help give them opportunities, don't make it even harder for them to attain good jobs and equality in the workforce.

smallwhitecat Sat 19-Nov-11 16:07:29

Message withdrawn

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 16:33:24

No. not a historian by profession but having studied it at degree level I have a reasonable grasp of it.
Sadly your utopian concept of a house filled with people frolicking with the kiddies in between churning butter and weaving willow baskets does not stand .
Spend any time in developing countries as I do and you will indeed see that the idea of leisure time devoted to enjoying your children is a myth.

'The modern idea of both parents working minimum 9-5 in a soul-destroying job, away from their loved ones, and children separated at school for long hours is actually much more restrictive than most of human history - urbanisation and the growth of factories etc allowed this kind of work to begin.'

Driving to work in a warm car, living in a warm building. Yes, it's sheer misery isn't it.
Long hours in school.
A prison sentence, isn't it?

Noone forces anyone into these so called 'soul destroying' jobs.
What numpties in esablishments like the FC want is a situation where women are cushioned and cossetted and treated like delicate little things who need constant state inteference.

Who pays these people to come up with this tripe?

nailak Sat 19-Nov-11 16:57:25

i meant cv, sorry autocorrect turned it in to fb hmm

twinklytroll Sat 19-Nov-11 17:04:21

I do not do a soul destroying job, on the contrary it is an utter joy to spend a day with young people passing on a subject I love.

I entered teaching about 10 years ago and the workload was significantly less.

I was discussing this with dp the other day who suspects that he works as hard now as a part time worker as he was in a full time position when he started in his current field. The full timers are often firing off emails at 6am and still doing so at midnight .They are also working all weekend . Some of this is driven by a fear of being made redundant, many employers are exploiting this fear.

Moondog I never said time between my dd and dp was not important , in fact one of the consequences of me working so hard is that he can work part time and dd almost has him on tap. However dd also needs regular time with me, especially as I am her only biological parent.

bemybebe Sat 19-Nov-11 17:14:17

nailak this was hilarious then!!

GeekLove Sat 19-Nov-11 18:13:43

9-3 as a teacher!?! Oh moondog don't make me laugh. I have never met a tea her who did not start the day after 8.30 or leave before 5. And there is the marking and lesson preparation to be done in one's own time.

moondog Sat 19-Nov-11 18:58:33

I'm talking about the kids, Geek.
B&B was moaning about the 'long hours' in school.

breadandbutterfly Sat 19-Nov-11 22:52:41

No, moondog, I was trying to point out the numerous errors in your statement that:

"'we are working more and more and seeking our children less and less'

That's nonsense.
Peopel worked all the hours God sent until recently.
The concept of leisure for anyone but the arostocracy is largely a 20/21C construct. "

When in fact, recent history is very unusual in its separation of parents and children, and of work being done primarily away from the home.

And no, before you try trolling on this one, I am not suggesting that children being at school is a bad thing - but I am certainly very much in agreement with ttosca that the current situation of both parents being required to work away from the home for extremely long hours and thus only able to have relatively very little time with their children is a very recent historical construct indeed - in my mother's generation, not that long ago, it was assumed that women would stay at home to look after their children and this was the norm when I was growing up. So kids had quality time with at least one parent.

Indeed, re your point about why women would choose to be teachers - don't forget that in my mother's day, women with children were forbidden to be teachers at all. So clearly, society has made strides forwards in terms of choice for women, on the one hand, to enter these jobs. But you must not forget that on the other hand it has also made large strides backwards, in that financial necessity (particularly rising house prices over the last decade or so) have made that 'choice' no longer a choice, but a necessity.

Where did you study history, by the way? And which periods did you focus on? Or was it all rather a long time ago, and you've conveniently forgotten it? smile

moondog Sun 20-Nov-11 08:40:54

Well in that case, you need to learn to construct a clearer case.
Did they not cover that part in your teacher training course?

Peopel may have worked nearer to their children (I am assuming your sort do after all consider housework to be work?) but they weren't down on their knees with them all day, leafing throguh picture books and playing peek-a-boo. They were too busy boiling nappies and peeling spuds and schlepping to the shops.

My dh has no recollection of his mother ever playing with him. She was there as an SAHM but she was always working.

I do not accept the notion of modern life being stressful and of children and parents being wrenched apart. Two generations of my family have left countries of our birth to go to countries where there is work. None of us have assumed we are entitled to jobs 5 minutes from our homes.

My dh works thousands of miles away and is home infrequently.
I work long hoursa in a demanding job with long commutes but I still manage ot be with my children. I read to them every night, I supervise homework every night. This w/end we have been out shopping, made Christmas shoe boxes, cooked, done housework and tonight we will go to the cinema.

It hasn't been hard to organise, thanks to the modern wonders of cars, central heating, supermarkets,gas ovens, computers and washing machines.

In the recent Unite ballot calling for strike action, only 31% of union members responded. Approximately 2/3 called for strike action, the rest didn't want it.

That's 80% of the union membership who don't want a strike or aren't generally bothered.
I suspect most intelligent people are aware of the fact that the most useful thing they can do is to keep schtum and stop whining about the mythical stresses and privations of modern living.

breadandbutterfly Sun 20-Nov-11 13:47:14

Moondog - you seem to have forgotten again to mention where you studied history. Along with your salary and amount of child benefit - still waiting.

Curious as to what 'my sort' is, exactly. grin Do enlighten me.

Having already stated that you are extremely well off, such that child benefit is an unnecessary extra for you, I don't think you're in any position to comment on how hard life is for those who don't enjoy your luxurious standard of living. Yes, I'm sure life is quite comfortable for the rich - it has ever been so.

But not every family enjoys your luxuries of "the modern wonders of cars, central heating, supermarkets,gas ovens, computers and washing machines" - try reading threads on how to cope without using the heating, on nice, middle-class MN, for example.

Your assumption that everyone has life as easy as you do but is just whinging is rather amusing in its arrogance. And rather sad, too, in its utter lack of humanity.

JuliaScurr Sun 20-Nov-11 13:54:14

swc & moondog Have a nice brew and a lie down
<nurse! Quick, they're out of bed again>

JuliaScurr Sun 20-Nov-11 13:57:41

Oh, and moondog check out those general election results.
You were saying?

bemybebe Sun 20-Nov-11 14:12:23

"Moondog - you seem to have forgotten again to mention where you studied history. Along with your salary and amount of child benefit - still waiting."

hmm And why should she tell you??

bemybebe Sun 20-Nov-11 14:14:02

"<nurse! Quick, they're out of bed again>"

Julia is this questionable insult your best argument? Pathetic.

breadandbutterfly Sun 20-Nov-11 14:16:33

I suspect that moondog is claiming to be many things she is not - a history graduate being just one of many. Her comments on history on this thread were so naive it was hard to believe she was who she claimed to be. If she is not who she claims to be, that rather throws into doubt all her other comments based on her 'experience'. So it is relevant, rather than just nosy - can't say I have the slightest interest on a personal level.

bemybebe Sun 20-Nov-11 14:17:33

But salary and child benefit??

breadandbutterfly Sun 20-Nov-11 14:24:42

Reference to other posts where she claimed that all those on 40k plus didn't need the child benefit due to be lost - because she didn't need it.

If you are going to presume to speak for everyone earning over a certain amount, with any numbers of children, it is highly relevant if you actually earn 3, 4 or 5 times what others affected do, say, and if you have 1 child to their 3, say.

She is welcome to speak based on her own circumstances - but she has no right to claim to be speaking for me, or for hundreds of thousands if not millions of others, without laying her cards on the table.

bemybebe Sun 20-Nov-11 14:33:26

The question of "need" is highly subjective though. What one person on 40K with 3 children considers "essential" is different from another person with the same circs.

Anyway, I will live you to that, there is obviously no room on this thread for anything but mud slinging...

JuliaScurr Sun 20-Nov-11 14:38:46

Sorry if that was taken as an insult; it was intended as light banter and used as such on eg 'I'm sorry I haven't a clue' etc

twinklytroll Sun 20-Nov-11 14:42:05

I agree that you can only speak from experience, I earn in the region of 40K and dp in the region of 30K, we not not need our child benefit so do not claim it. However our needs our less than other people's , we are not overly bothered by home ownership and we have one child.

rycooler Sun 20-Nov-11 15:21:26

More left-wing rubbish.

op; here's the truth - read this

smallwhitecat Sun 20-Nov-11 16:08:36

Message withdrawn

moondog Sun 20-Nov-11 18:00:51

I never claimed to be a history graduate.
I told you I studied it at university.
Two different things.

I am flattered you take such a close interest in my life.
I am wearing a flattering pink bra and knicker combo and have a lamb scotch broth simmering on my stove after which I shall retire with the Independent and a cup of Earl Grey.

moondog Sun 20-Nov-11 18:02:37

And I would never claim (or even want ) to speak for you.
Don't flatter yourself.

GeekLove Sun 20-Nov-11 18:18:55

The site in question here claims to be independent and non partisan but for its claims it has more of a whiff of DM- like hysteria.

breadandbutterfly Sun 20-Nov-11 18:56:32

TMI, moondog. grin

Am I to assume that you failed your history degree then? That would make sense.

And yes, you did claim implicitly to be speaking for all parents where one earned over 40K, re the need or otherwise for child benefit.

Twinklytroll - I suspect there is a cut-off point at some point over 40K when child benefit does become non-essential. maybe a combined total of 70k and one child is that point? Or maybe your housing costs (most people's biggest expense) are lower than average? Certainly, you're close to the 80k combined income at which no-one would be entitled to child benefit.

But try imagining that you had another child and your husband lost his job. Now try imagining how easily you could do without the child benefit. I suspect the sums would not add up so well.

moondog Sun 20-Nov-11 19:12:19

No I didn't 'implicitly' claim to be speaking for anyone.
And no I didn't fail my degree.
One chooses different options in certain years. Were you not aware of this.
You carry on.
It's harmless light amusement for a Sunday evening!

ChickenLickn Mon 21-Nov-11 14:55:25

I agree, this government is turning the clock back. To the 1850's if youve noticed their policies for forced, unpaid labour for all.

Next year they will promote the use of low cost stone tools, which provide a sharp cutting edge and can be easily fashioned from flintstones.

Tories are fuckwits, its official.

Bonsoir Mon 21-Nov-11 15:23:25

In most developed economies, state policies to help women to work outside the home have been quite successful. However, do we really believe the state should share the workload of childcare? Won't women and men be more equal versus the workplace when fathers, rather than the state, voluntarily share that workload?

moondog Mon 21-Nov-11 15:40:28

Yes, good point Bonsoir!
Don't be asking the state to do what the father of the child in question should be doing.
Responsibility begins at home.

JuliaScurr Mon 21-Nov-11 17:19:44

rycooler Sunday 15:21 - this would have more credibility as a critique of political bias if it wasn't run by Tory and UKIP representatives hmm

JuliaScurr Mon 21-Nov-11 17:41:26

The comment you manufactured your outrage about originated with thewell known Trotskyite, Barry Cryer, I think.
Your argument about men doing domestic labour isa good one imo. How do you propose to achieve this laudable aim? And what about lone mothers? In the meantime, since women do most housework/childcare, it's basically fair theyget most benefit from public sector spending. The division of labour, public/private split is several books' worth.

moondog Mon 21-Nov-11 17:55:11

JS, you are happy to maintain and reinforce a fundamental injustice in soceity then.
You remind me of Muslims who argue that women must be covered in order not to tempt men.
No word of addressing this so called issue with the men.
Deary me no. Accept a fundamental flaw and build around it.

twinklytroll Mon 21-Nov-11 19:04:19

breadandbutterflySun 20-Nov-11 18:56:32

Twinklytroll - I suspect there is a cut-off point at some point over 40K when child benefit does become non-essential. maybe a combined total of 70k and one child is that point? Or maybe your housing costs (most people's biggest expense) are lower than average? Certainly, you're close to the 80k combined income at which no-one would be entitled to child benefit.

But try imagining that you had another child and your husband lost his job. Now try imagining how easily you could do without the child benefit. I suspect the sums would not add up so well.

I did say that I did not want to speak for everyone, I suspect that we are on the cusp of not needing the child benefit. We do not find life easy without it, our housing expenses are high as we rent. We have to budget carefully, e.g the heating only goes on when we can wait no longer, I eat my main meal at work so I can just have a snack at home to keep food costs down. Yes we have one child, but that is because we did not want to have a second child that we could emotionally, practically or financially care for. We could not have that second child but it has taken a lot to get us to that point.

Having said that I recognise that our income is much higher than that of many people which is why we do not claim our child benefit, it feels wrong to expect others to go without their essentials if we are not ready to give up our luxuries.

rabbitstew Mon 21-Nov-11 20:56:24

"My family fit around my job every day of the week - as they should."

"I have missed or had to cancel many things to do with family and friends as a result of my life.
I see it as completely normal."

I wonder how flexible these views actually are? Do you appreciate the fact that your work is so family-friendly, moondog, or do you think your employers are a bunch of suckers who ought to sack you if you take time off work when your children are sick? Surely, sometimes, you expect your work to fit around your family????? Or do you 100% live to work, rather than work to live?

Bonsoir Tue 22-Nov-11 07:53:38

rabbitstew - Work does not usually fit around family in the developed world where the vast majority of people work in or with large institutions with set working hours. That is not going to change and I think it is very important to realise that this is the case.

Individuals do, however, have some degree of choice as to the volume of institutional constraints they load upon their family. If you want to build more flexibility into your work/life balance, living in very close physical proximity to work and school is one of the easiest ways to do so. The English model, of multiple long family commutes, is immensely onerous and constraining.

JuliaScurr Tue 22-Nov-11 11:32:41

moondog obviously I'm not happy about it, but the question remains - how can it be changed? Seriously, how? It is politically possible to increase state provision, not so easy to enforce domestic labour division.

moondog Tue 22-Nov-11 15:20:03

Well you want top down change to override private concerns.
I think this is a worryingly totalitarian approach.
If women stopped having families and making homes with men who don't pull their weight, that would effect more change than yet another bossy state funded government directive.

Bonsoir Tue 22-Nov-11 16:32:41

I think women have already tried that tactic, moondog. Only they found it pretty difficult to bring up their children and work full time, so the state stepped in where men had failed to live up to expectations.

JuliaScurr Tue 22-Nov-11 18:06:06

Bonsoir we may be disturbingly close to agreement <mops brow>

breadandbutterfly Tue 22-Nov-11 18:19:50

twinklytroll - you sound very saintly. smile

twinklytroll Tue 22-Nov-11 23:21:20

I hardly think it is saintly to plan your family carefully. I suspect that is what most of us do. It is also hardly saintly to not take money that you don't need. When we needed it we took it, when we didn't need it we didn't. It is hardly a large some of money when you earn a decent wage. I suspect that in these times of dire financial straits more people will make a similar decision. If I was turning down a lottery win that would be a different matter, £20 a week is hardly a big deal.

maypole1 Tue 22-Nov-11 23:28:05

Women don't have equality all we got is the chance to work a full day before cleaning and sorting the kids
They should of left well alone

When we finally come round to the fact we are equal but different we shall all be much more happy

twinklytroll Tue 22-Nov-11 23:32:34

Nonsense maypole. I work a full day and come home to a clean house and sorted child. I am not aware that having a penis affects your ability to do the dusting and put tea on.

rycooler Wed 23-Nov-11 08:09:30

I sometimes think feminism is the worst thing that ever happened to women - despite all the advances in equal rights etc it's left so many women very angry and dissatisfied - plus some feminists really won't be happy until they either become a man or men are totally eradicated from society.

JuliaScurr Wed 23-Nov-11 11:26:15

Steady, rycooler - remember what happened last time. Deep breaths and step away from the keyboard.

rycooler Wed 23-Nov-11 11:54:04

<< breathing into a paper bag as we speak >>

twinklytroll Wed 23-Nov-11 18:41:29

Feminism has served me well, without feminism I would have no career or means of independence. Because I had a career and an education when my husband fucked off and left me penniless I was able to support myself and give my daughter the life she deserves.

I have no desire to become a man, I love being a woman. I also love living with a man who is my best friend so no desire to eradicate them .

Solopower Wed 23-Nov-11 20:05:25

Twinklytroll, I'd be very happy for you to teach my children smile.

Why oh why oh why <rant warning> do women have to attack each other?

We are half the population, so it would be strange if we agreed on everything. But if one person has a hard life, does it help her if other people are struggling too? I think it would make more sense for us to try to make things better for everyone - men and children included. To me that means not working so hard that you never see your family.

I am hugely grateful to the feminists of the past who have made things so much better for most women. But the job isn't done until we can achieve a reasonable work-life balance, imo.

We don't have to accept overwork as the norm. And step one in not accepting that is being happy for women who don't have to. Step two is doing our best to work for change in our own workplaces so that we don't have to either.

breadandbutterfly Wed 23-Nov-11 22:11:53

twinklytroll - just to clarify, it was your not claiming your CB despite not having loads of cash to splash I referred to as saintly, not your decision to only have one child, which is your business - but I have 3 and don't regard myself as somehow less 'saintly' as a result of that. grin

twinklytroll Thu 24-Nov-11 00:00:08

I still don't think it is an amazing act, as I said it is only £20 a week, it is not going to transform our lives. Perhaps if I had 3 and it was a bigger sum I may be entitled to a small halo grin

breadandbutterfly Thu 24-Nov-11 08:26:26

True, but still saintly compared to the properly rich - which I wouldn't class you as - who really don't need the money by any stretch of the imagination, but still claim it.

I'm not feeling at all guilty about claiming my CB though - (a) we do definitely need it! and (b) having found out that we're net tax contributors by over 5K (see my other thread on this) even when the CB is taken into account, I feel fairly entitled (horrible word) to claim my £188/month.

rycooler Thu 24-Nov-11 13:00:37

TT - You said if it wasn't for feminism you wouldn't have a career - I thought it was WW2 that changed the lives of women in this country? - after the war women weren't prepared to go back into the kitchen and be just housewives, they wanted more - that period of history was a turning point for women and had nothing to do with feminism.
Also, you implied if it wasn't for feminism you wouldn't have had an education? I thought the Victorians introduced free schooling for all?

<< confused >>

breadandbutterfly Thu 24-Nov-11 21:16:13

rycooler - revise history of women's equality please.

Too many errors in your post:- eg contrary to your statement, the 1950s were in fact the era of the 'domestic idyll' when women did indeed choose to return en masse to the kitchen; indeed, in those days, in many professions women lost their jobs automatically on marriage (eg teaching). As a woman, I am eternally grateful that I was born in the 1970s and not before - feminism (particularly the equal pay acts of the 70s) made a HUGE difference to the lives of ordinary women, and their ability to support themselves without needing to rely on a man. The introduction of effective birth control in the 60s obviously played a part too.

Feminism goes well back before the 2nd WW, Ry - eg the suffragettes, say, are a good example of earlier feminism. Mary Wollstonecraft, say, with her Vindication of the Rights of Women, was an early (18th C) feminist - no idea why you think that something that happened in the Victorian era could have had no contribution from feminism.

rycooler Fri 25-Nov-11 10:08:50

No, whatever you think feminism has achieved would have happened anyway -
social advancement happens for all sorts of reasons, WW2 being one example ( and the 1950's housewife was a media image - we still have that to contend with today ) - the advancement in technology is another example, women can do jobs that just weren't physically possible years ago - labour saving devices meant women had more time, the demise of heavy industry meant more 'female friendly' jobs were available and women were more in demand - there's nothing I can pinpoint that feminists have achieved totally on there own. Maybe the sexual revolution - but who were the winners there? - men.

rycooler Fri 25-Nov-11 10:10:34

And apologies for astronomic typos -

breadandbutterfly Fri 25-Nov-11 13:16:25


Obviously other factors have influenced women's position in society other than the conscious efforts of a feminist movement that defines itself as such - that does not negate its importance. It's more or less impossible to argue that without the suffragettes women would have got the vote as early as they did, if at all. Re the 'domestic idyll' of the 1950s, you fly in the face of agreed opinion by social historians of the period and feminist historians (yes, I have studied women's history) - that's not to deny that the 2nd WW had a longer-term impact nor to state that no women in the 50s worked - neverthless, your generalisation is simply not backed up by the statistics on women working outside the home in that period.

I suspect the jury is still out on precisely who the sexual revolution benefitted - indeed I'm not expecting the jury to agree on this one any time soon, as it's clearly rather a personal opinion. smile

Always interesting to discuss women's history/feminism - though fear we are taking the thread even further off topic than before. Ooops.

sakura Thu 08-Dec-11 14:25:05

women are hit harder because of their caring responsibilites. This fancy idea that men take on an equal share of the childcare is out of touch with reality. Many men don't stick around. Many more men are abusers (just check out the statistics: there's a lot of men out there you don't want anywhere near children, let alone caring for them!)
Governments are happy taking the taxes of the workers that women's bodies produce, and happy to send their sons to war, but not happy to provide a safety net for the women, even though they jeapordize their chances of a good job in order to produce the citizens and soldiers.
Anyone who thinks getting pregnant doesn't affect your career is in cloud cuckoo land. You can't travel, probably can't take a promotion and you probably won't get the job if you turn up to an interview pregnant. Oh yeah they say they don't discriminate but a company can always find a premise not to hire the pregnant woman, and do so all the time.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
People like moondog will be saying abortion is not a women's issue next lol

sakura Thu 08-Dec-11 14:27:52

and lol that the women's revolution would have happened without feminism
P. M. S. L
CHeck out some pics of groups of men holding down women and force feeding them. OR policemen battering the suffragists on the street.
THe British government was an embarrasment. It chose to kill women rather than give them the vote.
That's how much men "cooperated!
Jeez, talk about re-writing history. THe patriarchy are great propagandrists.

sakura Thu 08-Dec-11 14:29:39

The black civil rights abolitionists didn't do anything for black people.

It was white men that saved black people. It would have happened anyway.



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