The Face of Poverty is Female: What do Men Do with the Money

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2006 National Women's Conference
26 October 2005

No trade union is more committed to fighting poverty than is UNISON. Conference is proud that this is so. But Conference wishes to raise a note of caution. This caution is not intended to cause any less pressure to be brought in regard to making poverty history. But Conference believes that women will continue to experience dire poverty across the world unless it is recognised that political, social, legal, financial and religious structures are controlled by men and that historically this has meant men control access to money. To truly make poverty history Conference asserts that:

1)women must help to form the economic policies of countries;

2)gender-based perspectives must be used in economic policy-making, in lending programmes and any decisions about funding community developments;

3)food schemes should be established to enable poor women’s access to food.

4)the close relationship between unpaid work and poverty needs to be exposed and women’s unpaid work needs to become properly valued and paid for;

5)in every country in the world women must have equal legal and social rights to men so that every woman can in her own right obtain affordable housing, access to land and to education and training that enables her to be financially independent.

Conference is certain that until these things are achieved poverty will not become history. Conference asks that the National Women’s Committee:

a)works with all relevant structures within UNISON with the objective of making it a policy of our trade union that the above five requirements should be made plain to political and trade union leaders of this and other countries at every opportunity that presents itself;

b)works with regions and branches to enable every member of our trade union to understand the casual link between women’s inequality and women’s impoverishment, and what needs to be done about it;

c)report back to Conference in 2007 the successes it has achieved in regard to the above.