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2013 National Women's Conference
18 October 2012

Conference acknowledges that many of the cuts in public services have hit rural communities, already poorly served, harder than urban areas. Women who are already on lower incomes and reliant on diminishing benefits and public services are particularly disadvantaged.

A recent survey conducted in the South West revealed that women are more likely to be dependent on public transport but that in many villages the service has been radically cut. The situation is even worse for disabled women as there is no guarantee that it is accessible. Having a car is often a necessity for some who can ill-afford the cost of fuel and maintenance when pay increases have not kept up with inflation. There are limited employment and training opportunities for women, especially for those with childcare responsibilities. The availability of affordable housing is a real issue for lone parents who are predominantly women. Access to police and support services is poor and particularly significant for women suffering domestic abuse while others experience problems accessing health services. In many areas there are few shops and pubs open except on a seasonal basis. This combined with the increased cost of living in rural areas, the Government’s closure of libraries and Post offices and switching off of street lighting leads to many women feeling vulnerable and isolated in their own homes. For black and minority ethnic women this is exacerbated by the fact that their families live long distances away.

Conferences therefore calls upon the National Women’s committee to work with:

1) Regional Women’s Committees to identify the additional burdens faced by women in rural areas

2) Other National SOG committees to identify similar disadvantages and opportunities for joint campaigning


3) Report the findings to Conference 2014 with advice/guidance for branches on how to raise awareness about the additional burdens experienced by women in rural communities and increase their involvement in UNISON