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Gender Matters in Social Security

Scotland's social security system is changing, and we want to make sure that women's equality is at its heart.

Women’s and equalities organisations are very concerned about plans to pay Universal Credit to households, not individuals, which undermine women’s financial independence, safety and equality. You can find out more about this, and other issues related to social security and women's equality, in our report released earlier this year.

The Scottish Government has been consulting on the changes to the social security system, and we were so pleased that so many women and equalities organisations responded to the consultation echoing our calls. In February, the Scottish Government's response to the consultation stated that they were committed to offering individual payments of Universal Credit as the default, and credited the high response rate as a reason for their decision.

There are several other issues of concern around social security in Scotland and in the UK, including the 'family cap' which limits child benefit and tax credits to two children, and the 'rape clause' which forces women to disclose whether children were conceived as a result of rape or coercive control. You can find out more about both of these issues here. Alongside Scottish Women's Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland we have submitted a petition to the UK Parliament petitions committee, and are aiming to gain 100,000 signatures to secure a debate in parliament on the 'family cap' and 'rape clause'. Sign the petition here, and find out more ways to support the campaign over on our blog.

If you want to stay up to date with our work for women's equality in social security, sign up here:


See a gallery of some key figures and quotes relating to women and social security below:

86% of cuts to social security have come from women's incomes<br/><a href="gallery/gender-matters-social-securit/17/add/#comments">Add comment</a>
Quotes from women at 'Fairer Scotland' consultation when told about proposed changes to Universal Credit payments<br/><a href="gallery/gender-matters-social-securit/18/add/#comments">Add comment</a>
Quote from a woman at the North West Women's Centre<br/><a href="gallery/gender-matters-social-securit/19/add/#comments">Add comment</a>
£4,000 annual loss of income for women lone parents by 2020<br/><a href="gallery/gender-matters-social-securit/20/add/#comments">Add comment</a>
£1.5bn cumulative cuts to maternity benefits<br/><a href="gallery/gender-matters-social-securit/21/add/#comments">Add comment</a>
60% of Scotland's paid workforce living in poverty are women<br/><a href="gallery/gender-matters-social-securit/22/add/#comments">Add comment</a>
66% of Scotland's unpaid carers are women<br/><a href="gallery/gender-matters-social-securit/23/add/#comments">Add comment</a>
Women are twice as dependent on social security as men<br/><a href="gallery/gender-matters-social-securit/24/add/#comments">Add comment</a>
Women are twice as likely to give up paid work to care as men<br/><a href="gallery/gender-matters-social-securit/25/add/#comments">Add comment</a>

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Related publications

ENGENDER RESPONSE TO SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION ON SOCIAL SECURITY IN SCOTLAND  ENGENDER RESPONSE, OCTOBER 2016ENGENDER RESPONSE TO SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION ON SOCIAL SECURITY IN SCOTLAND ENGENDER RESPONSE, OCTOBER 2016 Engender welcomes this opportunity to respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation on social security in Scotland.

Gender Matters in Social Security: Individual Payments of Universal CreditGender 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.

Parliamentary briefing on Child Tax Credit and Child Element of Universal Credit ('family cap')Parliamentary briefing on Child Tax Credit and Child Element of Universal Credit ('family cap') Engender's briefing in advance of the Scottish Parliament debate on Child Tax Credit and Child Element of Universal Credit (known as the 'family cap', and including the so-called 'rape clause').

Securing Women's Futures: Summary of RecommendationsSecuring Women's Futures: Summary of Recommendations A summary of recommendations from 'Securing Women's Futures: using Scotland's new social security powers to close the gender equality gap'.

Securing Women's Futures: using Scotland's new social security powers to close the gender equality gapSecuring Women's Futures: using Scotland's new social security powers to close the gender equality gap This joint report from Engender, Close the Gap, Scottish Women's Aid, the Scottish Refugee Council and Carer Scotland summarises why and how women are affected by social security policy and sets out ways in which new powers can be engaged to increase women’s equality in Scotland.

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