LETTER: Women will be hardest hit in the cuts

According to the TUC “It’s women who will be hit worst by the job cuts”, as reported in your newspaper (January 7th), particularly in terms of the 400,000 public sector job cuts projected over the next four years.

In making such a statement, the TUC concurs with the Fawcett Society, an organisation committed to the promotion of gender equality, and who began campaigning in 1866, when a certain Millicent Fawcett, president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, led peaceful initiatives for women’s votes.

Ms Fawcett was finally rewarded for her hard work and commitment, fully 60 years later, when women won an equal right to vote with men. How far we have progressed in the time since, particularly in a more intelligent understanding of how society’s concerns should be constituted.

Unfortunately, as the Fawcett Society currently reports, an independent analysis of George Osborne’s recent budget has shown it is women who will bear the brunt of the cuts unveiled to date.

Indeed, research by the House of Commons Library found an overwhelming 72% of the savings identified in the budget will come from women’s pockets!

This is because many of the benefits to be cut or frozen - including the health in pregnancy grant, the Sure Start maternity grant and child benefit - are those which women predominantly rely on.

In addition, this analysis does not take into account the impact of the public sector pay freeze which will also hit women disproportionately, as they make up 65% of public sector workers.

When multi-millionaire Prime Minister David Cameron announces “We’re all in this together” not only does he appear to misconstrue his own life experiences from those of ordinary people in terms of economic capital, might I suggest he also misconstrues it in terms of his gender?

TONY FORT

Grafton Avenue, Reedley