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Scottish budget affects women differently than men warn equality organisations

 

Scottish Government spending could deepen women’s equality in Scotland

Women’s equality organisations have written to John Swinney urging the Scottish Government to understand how budget proposals affect women and men differently.

Without this, they say, Scottish Government spending could deepen women’s equality in Scotland, and have a particularly damaging impact on disabled and BME women. 

The letter, signed by organisations including Scottish Women’s Aid and Amina the Muslim Women’s Resource Centre, calls on the Scottish Government to consider the diverse realities of women’s lives when making budget decisions, and to target funds where they are needed most.  

Sara Cowen of the Scottish Women’s Budget Group said:  “Gender budget analysis is a crucial process to ensure budget decision making is fair and works to tackle systemic inequalities. As the costs keep rising and national budgets are strained, we must ensure this analysis takes place. It is crucial in understanding the differing impacts of decisions on women and men, both positive or negative, as well as different groups of women to avoid baking in inequality. 

“We are calling on the Scottish Government to publish its analysis alongside the budget decisions to help people understand the differing impacts that decisions may have.”  

The letter sets out numerous ways in which women and girls will be disproportionately impacted by the cost of living crisis, including facing higher energy costs, being less financially able to leave an abusive situation, and undertaking the majority of unpaid care and household management.  

Anna Ritchie Allan, executive director of Close the Gap said: “Women’s unequal position in the labour market is a key reason they’re hardest hit by the cost of living crisis. Women’s financial resilience is constrained by their propensity to be in low-paid, insecure work and the gendered barriers they face to increasing their working hours.

“Spiralling costs have pushed many more women into desperate situations. Scottish Government has laudable ambitions on women’s equality, and we urge them to realise this by integrating gender in crisis responses to prevent a rising tide of poverty for women.”  

The organisations point out that it is not just individual women who will bear the brunt of the cost of living crisis, but that it will have a devastating impact on Scotland’s aspirations to achieve gender equality.

Engender’s executive director Catherine Murphy added: “Women in Scotland are facing crisis after crisis. From the devastating impacts of austerity, to the Covid-19 pandemic, and now this cost of living crisis – women bear the brunt. The impact this has on women’s equality cannot be underestimated, and the ripples of budget decisions made now will continue to be felt for generations to come.  

"If the Scottish Government wants to stop this, they must scrutinise the impacts of the budget decisions to allocate spending across portfolios to prevent poverty, destitution and insecurity for women, children and other marginalised groups.” 

 

Comments

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Ella
4 months ago

I do not think this article is seeking to vilify men. It is highlighting the gender barriers that women face in society and the choices the Scottish government could make to try and address that. Yes a lot of men do spend "their" income on their families and a lot of women spend "their" income and time on unpaid, low value unappreciated work, and sacrifice their health for their families, often just to try and keep insecure work, with less opportunities. It is not always balanced in all families for various reasons, despite women and men often fighting hard against inequality not only in their jobs but in access to equal healthcare. Agreed that women and men should be able to work together to solve the problem, but women unfortunately do not have as strong a voice due to the unequal representation of women in higher paid jobs and often ingrained sexist, misogyny in many workplaces. Women who do speak up are often silenced by various means such as bullying and harassment. Women are vulnerable during pregnancy and often unable to challenge sexist behaviour in the three months you have to go to a tribunal. There is a long way to go before we reach gender equality and we need more recognition from the Scottish Government and both men and women to feel empowered to speak up to achieve real and lasting change in our society.

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Steve
4 months ago

This type of gender division is not helpful. Men spend a lot of their income and love on their mothers, wives, and daughters - often doing without. To vilify men when a lot of these bosses paying less are women themselves is not fair. It's a team effort. That being said women must be paid the same as men and have the same opportunities and rights.