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Government cuts affecting women disproportionately.

(125 Posts)
ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 11-Oct-10 12:35:51

Heard in a R4 doc that £5billion of the £7billion raised by the emergency budget has come out of women's pockets.

Also got sent a link to this event, which sounds interesting: Women At The Cutting Edge

So what do you think? Are they targetting women on purpose? Or is it just a by-product of the traditional Tory Appeal-to-the-Rich-and-Wannabe-Rich mentality. I.e. because women are lower paid and more of us live in poverty, why should they listen to us?

anastaisia Mon 11-Oct-10 12:41:35

I'm really struggling with this.

I think its an unintended consequence of the fact that those who get the most government support are usually going to be the first hit.

I think Labour did a lot of things that helped top up incomes, but they didn't fundamentally change many things- which left the groups they helped reliant on that support.

Real change needs to happen in workplaces and the tax system if that's going to change, and I would fully support a lot of the cuts if I was convinced that other types of support will be put in place to cause real societal change. But I'm not.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 11-Oct-10 12:45:17

It's certainly extremely irksome to be told constantly that the cuts are happening because "we" spent profligately before. Did "we"?

AliceWorld Mon 11-Oct-10 13:30:46

It's something fundamental to Tory philosophy. And as equality is not high on their agenda they won't understand why/how/what to do about it - it doesn't fit with their model. I don't think they sat there thinking 'how will we get those women' but it's not in the way they see the world to think 'what about the impact on equality'.

That's not to say they all don't know or care, but it isn't part of being a Tory.

seeyoukay Mon 11-Oct-10 14:40:51

I'd like to see how those numbers are calculated. I have no idea certain elements of society are hit worse than others in the cuts but I think some creative use of numbers (not lying, creative use of) has been done.

One thing that strikes me in the face is that they probably assumed that child beneift is a "woman's benefit" when in reality all those non single parents it could be argued its split 50/50.

Same with nurseries - I'd argue anyone in part of a stale relationship with equal charge of the children then that is a cut to both people those they've probably decide the "benefit" is the "womans".

Lies, damn lies and statistics comes to mind.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 11-Oct-10 14:53:43

Me too, seeyoukay, it was on the radio so I didn't have a reference or anything to check up with.

Child benefit is still paid into women's accounts though isn't it? No idea if they otherwie assume that child benefits are "women's money" but that would be dodgy surely. Presume it was more thing slike job losses, pay freezes etc.

scallopsrgreat Mon 11-Oct-10 15:13:04

CB is paid into the primary carers account and that in 94% of cases is the woman (acording to some stats I managed to dig up on the net). I agree that technically it could be a 50/50 split but in reality it isn't and the government knows that and they still target it.

I would certainly be happier if they didn't refer to these things as "women's money" but I would be even happier to see a more even split in the genders who actually receive these benefits. (Says me who actually follow the stereotype and receives CB!)

anastaisia Mon 11-Oct-10 15:16:38

CB doesn't even have to be paid into the primary carers account.

If the mother is happy for someone else to make the claim then it can be paid to the dad or someone else with responsibility for the child.

Its only if more than one person makes the claim that HMRC get a say, they have an order they use:

•the person your child lives with
•the wife, when the husband and wife live together
•a parent ahead of a non-parent
•a mother, when parents who aren't married live together

scallopsrgreat Mon 11-Oct-10 15:20:23

Actually strike the last part of that sentence! If women want to be primary carer then that's more than fine by me and should be fine by the rest of the population. I was just thinking that sometimes women are portrayed as being solely responsible for children from conception until death and that in a lot of cases men need to step up.

<slinks away quietly having confused herself and everyone else in the process>

scallopsrgreat Mon 11-Oct-10 15:21:33

Sorry x-post!

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 11-Oct-10 15:34:03

Thanks for that info

Some stuff about the Fawcett Society's bid for a judicial review here. This is what they put it down to:

"Research by the House of Commons Library found that 72 per cent of the savings identified in the budget will come from women's pockets. This is because many of the benefits to be cut or frozen - including the Health in Pregnancy Grant, the Sure Start Maternity Grant and Child Benefit - are benefits that more women than men rely on. Further, this analysis doesn't take into account the impact of the public sector pay freeze which will also hit women disproportionately as 65 per cent of public sector workers are women.

The Fawcett Society is deeply concerned that the Comprehensive Spending Review will have a similarly skewed effect on women, particularly as a result of the many thousands of predicted job losses in the public sector. "

So bit of a mix of the benefits stuff and the public sector aspect.

It's a tricky one isn't it - I instinctively feel that the Tories have something against women: the fact that they often selfishly give birth and become Drain on Resources. But is that just prejudice?

AliceWorld Mon 11-Oct-10 17:22:09

No its not just prejudice. At the heart of conservatism are beliefs that tend towards discriminating against women. Its not that that is overtly in their agenda, or in their minds, or even that they know it, but it a by-product of beliefs they hold. Conservatism is by definition not progressive (it is conservative). The extent to which Conservatives subscribe to conservatism of course varies, but that they heart of the underlying philosophy, which will frame their debates, is conservatism. Its like the hoo har from the party about taking away child benefit that would make it more worthwhile to both work and penalise where one parent (read the mother) stays at home. That upset Tories because at their heart they believe in 'traditional' family. So they are then appeased by a married tax allowance, rewarding the 'traditional' family, never mind if you're not 'traditional'.

I think the figures about the impact came from Yvette Cooper's report. ts. Of course every report is political and of course statistics are used for political ends. But there isn't the 'real' statistics and then the 'political' ones, it's all political. And the report in that link is pretty raw data rather than spun into something.

happysmiley Mon 11-Oct-10 17:44:28

I think that the Tories don't specifically dislike women, more that they dislike poor people and women happen to be poor.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 11-Oct-10 17:52:02

Mm but do they think it's a coincidence? I suppose so - I imagine the lot of the "but women choose different paths" crowd are Tories.

If you're a woman under the Tories ideally you need a rich daddy, rich mummy, private school, become posh totty at university, work for a couple of years earning £££ to instantly pay off student loan, then marry someone equally loaded, give up work on receipt of first infant...

Or don't have kids and become female Allan Sugar.

huddspur Mon 11-Oct-10 17:55:05

Women tend to be more dependent on the state and Government services than men so its a logical conclusion that if the Government has to reduce its spending then those who are more reliant on Government services are going to be hit. I don't think its a difficult attack on women.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 11-Oct-10 18:10:30

Yes but they're just cutting the services without trying to sort out any of the reasons why women are more dependent. They're not doing anything about the pay gap, childcare, carers etc - or are they?

happysmiley Mon 11-Oct-10 18:56:17

E&M, that's fair, they don't specifically seem to be doing much to help women either. I guess it goes back the Tory philosophy of individuals must help themselves not rely on the state.

(TBH, personally I don't think that Labour is automatically good for women either. I think that it almost purely due to Harriet Harman that the last government did anything for women rather than that Labour is inherently good for women and the Tories are bad.)

anastaisia Mon 11-Oct-10 19:13:14

Also happysmiley - I'm not sure how good it is for women to transfer their dependence from men to the state as things like tax credits etc do.

I'd much prefer that there were changes that meant women weren't forced into either of those things for more than a short period of time - so I suppose in that way I do like the Tory idea of 'a hand up, not a hand out'

But like E&M says, the services need to be sorted for that to be a possibility anyway

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 11-Oct-10 19:38:55

I don't think any of the parties are especially good for women - I tend to go for policies or good people rather than subscribing to a whole party. Most people who seek power don't really deserve to be entrusted with it, sadly.

Anastaisia - I'm not sure tax credits really come down to dependence on the state, surely they're a discount in acknowledgement that those bringing up the next generation are doing a valuable job for the country?

Things like publishing company pay gaps would be good - wouldn't cost the govt much/anything. But they are even more fawningly in love/afraid to scare business leaders that TB was. Of course, a lot of Tories are vey vey rich as well, both by inheritance and by earnings, so their perspective is always going to be a little, er, detached from normality.

RamblingRosa Mon 11-Oct-10 19:50:49

Alice is right. The figures quoted come from some research that Yvette Cooper got the House of Commons Library to do. It analysed how women would be hit by cuts to services and benefits proposed in the budget.
Women will also be harder hit as they make up the majority of public sector workers (who are facing massive job cuts over the next year).

The Tories don't necessarily dislike women as such. However, I guarantee the Tories will want to see women squeezed out of the workplace into the home or into low paid/unpaid, voluntary, caring, part time jobs.

The Lib Dems made a lot of commitments to women and equalities in their manifesto but I don't think they have a lot of clout in this coalition (understatement of the year). People like Lynne Featherstone don't seem to have much of a voice.

This government and the spending cuts are bad news for women.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 11-Oct-10 20:02:28

All this big society shite - that's free women's work as well surely? Get the parents to run the schools etc. Instead of paying women to run the education system, why not get some people who can afford the time to do it for nothing.

huddspur Mon 11-Oct-10 20:15:33

ramblingrosa Spending cuts are unavoidable considering the size of the deficit.

ISNT Mon 11-Oct-10 20:31:51

Agree with a lot of the sentiments on this thread esp aliceworld's posts.

Also agree with the view of the country the tories have as = men out at work earning, women in the home baking and raising nice children and doing plenty of free work. I think the plan is - slash the services for women and children - lefty type people won't be able to bear to watch and will step in voluntarily to assist the people who are left in the shit. So no-one actually starves = no headlines about govt being evil. And handily all the people with a social conscience are too busy helping actual people in real life to form an organised opposition to the govt.

They will say, if you don't like starving babies, why don't you go and do something about it then. And that will be that.

ISNT Mon 11-Oct-10 20:33:38

huddspur then why are the tories taking from the very poor with one hand and giving a comparable amount back to people who mainly don't need it?

it's ideological, where these cuts are falling, pure and simple.

huddspur Mon 11-Oct-10 20:42:27

All though we don't know until the spending review is published, I don't see what you mean when you say that they are taking from the poor and giving to people who are more wealthy

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