Gender and 'Welfare Reform' in Scotland
Close the Gap has recently been involved in the development of a joint position paper on gender and welfare reform in Scotland. This important piece of work was led by Engender, Scotland’s gender equality organisation, in response to steadily increasing alarm at the impact of the UK government’s welfare reform programme on women in Scotland.
The paper looks at the existing gender inequalities, and finds that women’s unequal position in economic, political and social spheres is set to become further entrenched as a result of welfare reform. Women are facing a unique double jeopardy under the new regime of sanctions introduced by Job Centres. Faced with pressure to participate in employability activity that is supposed to move them closer to the labour market, but unable to secure childcare to allow them to meet the requirements of the programme, women will find themselves subject to sanction.
Close the Gap is also concerned that if employability programmes fail to recognise or include strategies to mitigate occupational segregation, they will simply perpetuate the existing gendered segregation in the Scottish labour market. It is essential that gender issues are mainstreamed into employability and related support services from the outset to avoid this.
This joint paper summarises the way welfare reform will impact on women living in Scotland, and makes recommendations to the Scottish Government on how to mitigate the impact of these changes. It also highlights stories that are emerging from women’s organisations and groups about the impacts of reforms.
Engender, Scottish Women’s Aid, Close the Gap and Scottish Refugee Council are holding an event on Wednesday 2nd April at the Scottish Parliament to launch this paper. You can register for this event here.