International Women

A specially convened International Women’s Day Conference will highlight the latest figures showing that in the last quarter 370 women in Scotland lost their jobs every day and that women are hardest hit by Government spending cuts with lone parents and single women pensioners the worst affected.  Scotland’s national feminist organisation Engender is bringing 200 people together to consult on the critical issues facing women in Scotland today.  The event ‘Women in Scotland 2012 – The Big Picture’ will gather evidence detailing how women in Scotland are faring for the United National Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The Conference will learn that:

-  Recession and recovery is having a major impact on women’s labour market participation.  Women in Scotland’s unemployment has doubled since the start of the recession and is now at 8.2 % against a pre-recession figure of 4.1%

- This means in the last quarter 24000 women are now looking for work compared with 8000 men

- The gender pay gap is still sitting at 11 % for women working full time and 32% for women working part time

-  Cuts in social care spending will hit women harder both as users and providers of care.

-  Those hardest hit by the spending cuts are lone parents (who will see a drop in living standards of around 18%) and single pensioners (around 11%) because these groups will be disproportionately hit by cuts in social care spending. Of the latter group, single women will see a drop of around 12% (compared to couples of around 6%)

 -  Women do ¾ of childcare during the week, provide most care to older relatives and do 2 hrs more unpaid work per day than men.

Proposals will be made for properly funded, personalised social care.

Launching ‘The Big Picture’ Consultation,  Marsha Scott, Engender Convenor, said:

“At Engender, we view the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women as something of a Superhero for women, and looking at how women are doing across the world its clear to us that we need one. It is 101 years since the very first International Women’s Day, 42 years since the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act, 31 years since the UK signed the Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women, and as things stand sadly it sometimes seems like icebergs are melting at a faster pace than gender equality is progressing.  Today we learn that women are hardest hit not only by job losses but also by spending cuts. It’s a brutal double whammy and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

The UK Government have been questioned before by the UN CEDAW Committee about the lack of progress made as regards gender equality,  In fact the Committee was so concerned they issued a ‘See Me’ call and requested that the UK submit another report just a year later.  We will be submitting a report to the UN and today are launching a nationwide consultation on the critical issues facing women in Scotland.  We ask that anyone who has witnessed gender inequality in employment, education or the provision of services contacts us so we can reflect that evidence in our report.”

Professor Ailsa Mackay, economist and Vice Dean of Glasgow School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University added:

“Sadly the picture is not rosy. As we predicted a while ago what we are seeing is in fact a ‘she-cession’, the impact of the recession is far greater on women than on men. Women are being forced out of the labour market in droves with huge implications for pay, prosperity and pensions.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors

CONTACT:           Alyson Thomson, 07766112463/ Karen Dargo, 07989541226

-          Spokespeople are available for interview. Please contact Alyson Thomson on 07766112463 to arrange

-          Women in Scotland 2012 – The Big Picture takes place at The Royal Botanic Gardens, 20a Inverleith Row, Edinburgh 

-          A photocall will take place at 13.00, 200 participants will congregate in The Garden Room

-          The event will seek to get a sense of the position of women in Scotland, (the big picture), which will form a Shadow Report to be submitted to the UN CEDAW Committee for their consideration when examining how the UK/ Scottish Governments are doing as regards their progress towards eliminating discrimination against women. The event will bring together evidence, ideas and seek views on what are the key issues for women in Scotland today. The morning will focus on women in Scotland’s economy. The afternoon will look at legal, cultural and social issues relating to the Convention. 

-          The Conference will hear presentations by economist Professor Ailsa Mackay, Professor Kirstein Rummery, University of Stirling, Jean Urquahart MSP, Catherine Stihler MEP, Emma Ritch, Close the Gap, Professor Alan Miller, Scottish Human Rights Commission, Lesley Thomson QC, Solicitor General for Scotland and Yvonne Stachan from the Scottish Government Equality Unit.  The Key note address will be delivered by Barbara Helfferich, Inaugural Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby.

-          CEDAW – A Superhero For Women, short webclip is available to view at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPJfBqoNH7Q

-          Oct-Dec 2011 saw the largest fall in women’s employment since start of recession – 34,000 (370 jobs per day)

-          Women’s unemployment 8.2% (pre recession 4.1%)

-          The latest figure indicates an increase in female unemployment of 30% between October and December of last year, the biggest quarterly rise since the beginning of the recession. What that represents is 24,000 more women now looking for work. This compares with a decrease in male unemployment of 8000.

-             Those hardest hit by the spending cuts are lone parents (who will see a drop in living standards of around 18%) and single pensioners (around 11%) because these groups will be disproportionately hit by cuts in social care spending. Of the latter group, single women will see a drop of around 12% (compared to couples of around 6%)

 -          Anyone who wishes to contribute to the consultation can contact engender in the following ways: e.info@engender.org.uk  t.0131 5589596

-          Engender are calling on the Scottish Government to fully implement CEDAW

Contact: Ally Thomson
Phone: 07766112463
Email: alysonthomson2002@yahoo.co.uk
Website: http://www.