The cuts, cutting us out

16 Apr

I think, talk and write a lot about the pornification of our society, and I’m not the only one. A lot of feminists write about it because, what with overtly sexual adverts on billboards, readily available porn mags, and naked ladies bizarrely placed on the front pages of certain newspapers, it is impossible to avoid. Faced with a constant stream of this stuff, no wonder it takes up so much of the blogosphere.

But, there are many other problems too, and quite a few aren’t as explicitly violating women’s rights and butchering equality. Take for example, budget cuts. When our Government professes that ‘we’re all in it together’, you wouldn’t think that “budget cuts” are disproportionally affecting women. Yet with job cuts, benefits freezes and reductions in legal aid, women are feeling the effects of our austerity much more than men.

Job cuts have meant that, at present, there are 1.13 million unemployed women in Britain, and according to The Office for National Statistics, between October and December 2011, 32,000 women became unemployed compared with only 16,000 men.

The progress women have been making in gaining equal access to the workplace is slowly but surely being undermined. Have men always seen us as dispensable? Has this view been lying dormant over the last few years and is now rearing its ugly head in a time of crisis?  It’s hard to think otherwise, when, according to data collected by the Fawcett Society, in the last quarter 81% of those losing their jobs were women; and in some local councils 100% of those fired were women.

And let’s not forget that for those depleting number of few women still in jobs, they face a full-time pay gap of 20.4%.

There are many problems facing women – feminists understandably will prioritise one area over another. But today, let us not stay quiet on as issue as profound and damaging as that of unequal pay and unequal job cuts. Write to your local media, write to your MP, attend a rally, check out what the Fawcett Society is suggesting we do. Losing what women before us fought for, that’s not something we want done on our watch.

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