Women bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis

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2023 National Women's Conference
14 October 2022

Conference notes with extreme concern the continuing pressures women are facing as the cost-of-living spirals out of control, with the inflation rate hitting 10.1% in July 2022, this was the highest reading since 1982.

Conference, Women are more vulnerable to the impact of the cost of living rises as 69% of low paid or insecure jobs are held by women. Women make up the majority of people living in poverty and female headed households are poor – these constitute 90% of lone parent households, 45% of which are living in poverty.

Conference, in addition the statistics in the North East are alarming:

– 2 in 5 children are living below the poverty line

– The average salary for full time workers in the North East is the lowest in the UK, in addition the average salary for a man is higher than for a woman.

– Disposable income for workers in the North East is the lowest in the UK

– The North East has the highest rate of domestic abuse related crimes in England and Wales

Conference, it is women who disproportionately feel the emotional and financial brunt of inflationary rises, as the ‘shock absorbers’ for austerity and now too for the cost-of-living crisis; women are going without food, heating, and clothes to provide for their families and loved ones.

Conference, women with caring responsibilities, in the absence of affordable childcare, are less able to increase their hours of paid work than men further adding to the strain women are feeling. Women will also suffer from the long-term implications of the cost of living as they are prioritising their immediate financial commitments such as mortgage payments and utilities over long-term goals like pension savings, meaning the effects of this cost-of-living crisis will be felt for years to come.

Conference, the cost-of-living crisis is disproportionately affecting women as it exacerbates the existing outcomes of entrenched gender inequality.

We ask the National Women’s Committee to:

1: Work with Regional Women’s Groups and service groups to build a body of evidence showing the effects that the cost-of-living crisis is having on women members and use the results to create a campaign to highlight the impacts.

2: Work with the NEC and all appropriate sections of the union and our partners, including Labour Link to lobby for changes to ease the financial burden of the cost-of-living crisis on women.

3: Report back on the findings to the 2024 Women’s Conference.