Government’s roadmap to gender equality need to be paved with more than just good intentions.

Date Posted: Wednesday 3rd July 2019

Austeritygender pay gapUniversal Credit

Responding to the launch of the Government Equalities Office roadmap on gender equality, WBG Director Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson said:

“We welcome the publication of this roadmap. It is good to see the Government recognise that gender inequality is a structural issue, with inequalities starting in childhood impacting on women throughout their lives.

The Government has identified many of the underlying causes of inequality between women and men, most significantly the gender division of unpaid care. And it is good to see them acknowledge that the social security system ‘hasn’t always tackled the disadvantages that women and those with caring responsibilities face’.

The real challenge is what action the government is proposing to take. Universal credit is presented as a solution to previous failures of the social security system to support women. But we know that far from making life easier Universal Credit has pushed many families into poverty. There is recognition that women provide more unpaid care, but nothing to address the crisis in social care, caused by central government cuts to funding for local government.

The roadmap is a first step in identifying the problem, but proposed solutions don’t go far enough. If the Government is serious about delivering change it needs to put its money where its mouth is, with major investment in social infrastructure such as care services, restoring cuts to social security that have hit women hardest and a real commitment to close the gender gap in unpaid care.”