Woman with sore eyes

Women and public spending cuts

The government claims to be fair and family-friendly, but the spending cuts which have already taken place and those which are planned are hitting women hardest.

Cuts to the public sector affect women more than men

Some 65% of public service workers are women

And almost a quarter of working women are in public sector jobs.

This means that job cuts and pay freezes in the public sector are affecting more women than men, with hundreds of thousands more jobs set to go in future.And all this is happening at a time when 1.1 million women are out of work.

Over a million part time workers would like to work full time

The number of people in part-time work rose by 134,000 to 8.12 million, the highest level since 1992 when these numbers began to be collected. This figure included 1.42 million people – a record number – who would like to work full-time but are unable to find such employment.

The gender pay gap in the private sector is still significantly greater than in the public sector – 20.4% as compared to 13.3%. With the government focus now on boosting enterprise and private sector growth, there is a real risk that the pay gap will widen in the years ahead unless there is concerted action to tackle pay inequality.

Women face a great threat to their financial security and rights

Women have not faced a greater threat to their financial security and rights in living memory. Decades of steady, albeit slow, progress on equality for women is being dismantled, as cuts to women’s jobs and the benefits and services they rely on turn back time on women’s equality.

Anna Bird, acting chief executive of the Fawcett Society

Benefit cuts hit women harder than men

Benefits make up, on average, one fifth of women’s income, compared to one-10th of men’s. The further £10 billion in benefit cuts will therefore hit women harder than men.

Plans to introduce regional pay in the public sector would drive down women’s wages and widen the gender pay gap.

We need urgent action to stop women being ground down by the government’s devastating cuts. Two thirds of public sector workers are women, who are most likely to rely on these vital services.

Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary

Child benefit has been frozen – in real terms a cut of 10% since 2010. In 95% of cases, it is women’s income that will be reduced.

Changes and the freeze in working tax credits will hit the poorest members of the working population, particularly lone parents, 90% of whom are women.

Changes to state and public sector pensions will disproportionately affect women – who already make up two thirds of the UK’s poorest pensioners.

Did you know?

Of the £14.9bn of welfare savings already being implemented, around three-quarters (74%) are coming from women’s pockets.