Cuts highlight need for equality budgeting
June 18th: Trade union Unite today said that the cuts to lone parents’ payments and to funding for the Rape Crisis Network are just the latest manifestations of what the union’s Equalities Officer, Taryn Trainor, termed a policy of ‘gendered austerity’.
“Women have borne the brunt of austerity policies over the past seven years, and that trend seems to be continuing despite the much-trumpeted recovery.
“Figures published last year by the ESRI and the Equality Authority showed that women were disproportionately hit since the onset of the economic crisis, suffering a 14% loss of income compared to 9% for men – and this gap widened for those on lower incomes.
“Yet, as we’re told the recovery is on its way, the onslaught on women continues. In just over two weeks’ time, over 30,000 lone parents – the majority of them women – are set to lose their One Parent Family Allowance as their youngest child hits the age of seven. Lone parents in low-paid employment could find themselves around €50 a week worse off. Already, more than one-in-ten women in work are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, while overall 63% of lone parents suffer multiple deprivation experiences. These changes will simply make a bad situation worse.
“In a parallel development, core funding for the Rape Crisis Network has been withdrawn – which means that a vital research and advocacy resource may well have to close down. Although, in a welcome development, growing number of men are using rape crisis services, this cut again disproportionately impacts on women.
“These are just the latest manifestation of what one can only describe as a policy of gendered austerity.
“In the short term, both of these cuts must be reversed. In the longer term, equality budgeting must be brought in to assess the impact of economic decisions on different sections of society, and to ensure that equality is at the heart of policymaking”, Taryn Trainor concluded.