This week (2-7th October) marks Challenge Poverty Week, an annual campaign highlighting the injustice of poverty in Scotland, and to show that collective action based on justice and compassion can create solutions.
We know that women’s poverty is a result of long-standing, deep-rooted, and systemic fault lines in our society. In this blog, our Communications and Engagement Manager Jade Stein explores the need to make visible how poverty & economic inequality are experienced at higher rates by women & marginalised groups across our society.
Around one-fifth of Scotland’s people – more than a million of us – live in poverty. For a rich nation, with an abundance of resources, this is simply outrageous.
Our Policy and Parliamentary Manager Eilidh Dickson looks at the proposed changes to the implementation of Universal Credit and the impact these changes are likely to have on women in receipt of the credit.
It used to be that “a week was a long time in politics”, but these days, major developments seem to occur daily. It's no surprise then that November 2018 already seems like a very long time ago. But that's how long Amber Rudd MP has been in post as Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).For years, UK Government Ministers have been doggedly committed to the Universal Credit. They've pursued it without regard for the serious concerns from recipients and organisations like Engender. Expectations that a new Minister at the DWP would change track now were low, despite her assertion that she was ready to listen and "learn from errors".
Today Engender, along with Scottish Women's Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland, have written to Damian Hinds, Minister of State for the Department of Work and Pensions asking ten questions about the implementation of the so-called 'rape clause'.
It has long been clear to us that both the ‘rape clause’ and the family cap which underpins it are unworkable policies (see our previous blogs here). We also know, however, that women in Scotland will be seeking information on how the UK Government intends to implement the policies, and how it will impact on their families, so we have written for clarity on a number of issues we don't believe have been fully thought through. You can read the letter below, and we'll be publishing a response as soon as we get one.
On June 8th 2017 the UK will go to the polls for a snap General Election (the BBC have a handy 'what you need to know' guide if you're not sure what that means).
Many have been taken by surprise by this election, and while parties are working on selecting their candidates and writing manifesto, we're keen to make sure that calls for women's equality aren't lost in the melee.
Sometimes in the life of a gender advocate the stars align to create a Platonic policy process. A proposal comes forward from government that is simple and easy to understand. Gender-disaggregated data is available. Other women’s organisations have the resource and interest to engage in a discussion about how to respond. Women are easy to include in the conversation. Feminist analysis leads inexorably to specific policy calls. Colleagues from across civil society agree with our take on the government’s proposals, and integrate our asks into their lobbying strategies. Government listens keenly to our input and develops its policy accordingly.
Most of the time, though, there is much more friction in feminist policy and advocacy. Government proposals may be vague or unclear, or broken into chunks that are hard to knit together. Consultation processes may be too short. There may be no data on how the policy will affect women and men, or no data at all. Other women’s organisations may not have the time or resource to focus on a specific area of policy, because of competing priorities. Feminist analysis may produce politically untenable asks. Other women’s organisations may disagree on our analysis or approach, or have other political drivers to sit out a particular issue. Colleagues from across civil society may feel that the gender dimension is a distraction or dilution of their own urgent priorities. Government may intentionally shape a consultation process to distance civil society, and women’s organisations.
The recent lobby and advocacy around the ‘family cap’ and ‘rape clause’ has definitely involved some friction. What that is, and why that has been sheds some light on broader questions about gender and policy.
There are lots of people in Scotland who have only become aware of the ‘rape clause’ in the last few weeks. In fact, its story began almost two years ago. So what’s been going on, and where do we go from here?
Engender Briefing: Pension Credit Entitlement Changes From 15 May 2019, new changes will be introduced which will require couples where one partner has reached state pension age and one has not (‘mixed age couples’) to claim universal credit (UC) instead of Pension Credit.
Engender Parliamentary Briefing: Condemnation of Misogyny, Racism, Harassment and Sexism Engender welcomes this Scottish Parliament Debate on Condemnation of Misogyny, Racism, Harassment and Sexism and the opportunity to raise awareness of the ways in which women in Scotland’s inequality contributes to gender-based violence.
Gender Matters in Social Security: Individual Payments of Universal Credit A paper calling on the Scottish Government to automatically split payments of Universal Credit between couples, once this power is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
Gender Matters Manifesto: Twenty for 2016 This manifesto sets out measures that, with political will, can be taken over the next parliamentary term in pursuit of these goals.
Scottish NGO Briefing for UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Joint briefing paper for the UN Rapporteur on Violence Against Women.
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