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Women and the Cuts toolkit is out now


Working with Coventry Women’s Voices and the TUC I have just completed work on the Women and the Cuts toolkit

for unions and local groups wanting to do a human rights and equality impact assessment of the cuts on women in their town or city.

The toolkit looks at the impact of the cuts in eleven key areas:

  • Employment
  • Education and training
  • Housing
  • Welfare reform
  • Health
  • Social care
  • Services for children and young people (and their families)
  • Legal aid
  • Transport
  • Violence against women
  • Women’s voluntary organisations

For each area it provides an over-view of what cuts are happening and how these cuts will affect women, including the impact on specific groups of women such as BAME women or disabled women. It then shows how to research the likely local impact of these cuts, giving links to sources of national data that can be broken down by area, suggestions for where to look for local data and a guide to carrying out local consultations.

The toolkit also contains guides to promoting the findings of local research through campaigning, lobbying and media work.

Unions and voluntary groups will be able to use this toolkit to provide evidence of what the cuts will mean for women in their area.  With many of the cuts having been devolved to local councils, primary care trusts and other local public bodies this local evidence is vital to highlight what the impact on women will be in practice.



Cutting women out in Bristol


Spending cuts in Bristol will hit women hardest with cuts to tax and benefits alone costing women nearly £45 million according to Cutting Women Out in Bristol, a new report by Bristol Fawcett published on November 3.

Bristol Fawcett found

• The changes to the benefits and tax system will cost Bristol’s women a shocking £44,825,450.
• This includes cuts to tax credits, benefits to pregnant women, family and care benefits and unemployment benefits.
• Cuts to housing benefit leave Bristol women up to £15 a week worse off.
• The cuts to the Educational Maintenance Alowance will leave around 3,000 Bristol students without the support they need to continue their education.
• The council are cutting the health and social care budget by £7.3 million and the PCT’s budget is being cut by £19 million. The number of women needing these services outnumber men by several thousand.
• Women make up 65% of public sector workers nationally and 63% of council workers in Bristol. The council are planning 240 job cuts in 2011/12 alone.

The Bristol report drew on Unravelling Equality: a human rights and equality impact assessment of the cuts on women in Coventry, published earlier this year, which I co-authored with Dr James Harrison.

With Coventry Women’s Voices I have been working with the TUC to produce a toolkit for groups who want to carry out a similar project in their towns or cities. This will be launched at the TUC Equality Deficit Conference on 16 November.


Making your voice heard – a women’s toolkit for local lobbying


How can women make their voice heard locally? How can small groups decide on campaign priorities and develop a realistic plan? How can social media help small groups find out about and influence their local council and MP?

These were some of the questions I set out to answer along with a group of women from Platform 51 in Wolverhampton, supported by the Women’s Budget Group. Out of the two half day workshops we produced this guide.

Women’s growing disenchantment


The Irish Times has an article arguing that support for the Conservatives among women is falling away as a result of the spending cuts. The gender gap, with support for the Conservatives higher among women than men which was recorded in polls at the start of the year has now closed. Not surprising when women are more likely to be losing public sector jobs, more likely to be affected by cuts to public services and more likely to lose out from welfare reform.

Impact of the spending cuts in Coventry debated in parliament


Geoffrey Robinson MP secured a Westminster Hall debate on the impact of the spending cuts on women. Justine Greening MP replying as Minister seems to be defending the impact of the cuts on lone parents on the grounds that the Government is spending money on breast cancer screening!

Coventry Telegraph on Coventry Women’s Voices


I am so proud of Coventry Women’s Voices and everything we have done to highlight the impact of the cuts on women in Coventry. There is a great piece in the Coventry Telegraph showing a march led by our own Lady Godiva (Pru Porretta) and the Godiva Sisters.

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