In the past week there’s been a slight autumn chill in the air in the mornings, and a pleasing back-to-school vibe in genderland that speaks of newly sharpened pencils and fresh notebooks.
Autumn is a season of new beginnings, as well as mellow fruitfulness, and the last few days has seen the launch of Scotland’s Programme for Government as well as Engender’s own Gender Matters Roadmap.
Scotland’s social care support system is in crisis. It’s failing disabled people and carers and the way Scotland funds it is not working.
That’s Engender's view, along with coalition of 16 Scottish organisations, representing disabled people and older people, women, care providers and paid and unpaid carers and the voluntary sector, who are calling for urgent action by national and local government and policymakers. Others including academics, trade unions, politicians, local authorities, care providers and professionals also share their concerns on the future of social care funding.
With the Scottish elections being held on the 5th of May, Scotland will soon be gripped by election fever.
Party manifestos will be unveiled and candidates and campaigners will aim to convince us that their party holds the solutions to the issues that matter most to us.
We know that health, education, the economy and employment will all feature at the top of the agenda. People will weigh up what each party has to say and inevitable ask themselves the question ‘How will this effect me’
But I hope that with this election people will also be asking themselves – ‘What sort of society do I want to live in?’ ‘How does it respond to people when they need support? What happens when someone develops a serious health issue, gives birth to a child with a disability or becomes a carer for a loved one? What happens when you get older and need help with everyday living?
Scotland's social care system is in crisis. It's underfunded, the support being given to disabled people is narrowing dangerously, it penalises users with expensive charges, it increasingly relies on family kinship caring (usually women). Furthermore, it's staffed by people on permanently low wages (again usually women), both of whom are expected to deliver minor miracles. All of this creates a system which undermines the human rights of disabled people to society, democracy, the economy and their families and communities – as well as presents issues to gender equality. Women carers are more likely than men carers to be working part time, and thus more likely to be reliant on social security and experience poverty. Disabled women also experience economic gender inequality: the employment rate for non-disabled men is nearly 90%, but for disabled women it is 40%.
Older women often live in poverty. They have no one to care for them, after spending their lives providing unpaid care for friends and family. Ageing is inevitable of course, but its gendered injustices shouldn’t be. It’s time to make ending pensioner poverty a priority and providing decent elderly care services for all.
To join our email list, simply enter your email address below.