As we kick off the new year the Scottish Women’s Budget wants to hear from you.
It’s a tough start to 2021 with renewed lockdown measures, a faster spreading virus, and the knock impact for jobs, care and support. 2021 needs to become a year of transformation as we start to recover from the impacts of Covid-19, and tackling inequalities must be at the heart of this recovery.
SWBG will be working to tackle gender inequalities through gender responsive budgeting to build a caring, gender equal economy in Scotland. Our member’s voices are crucial to our developing work and that’s why we want to hear from you.
As Covid continues to wreak havoc women are facing particular challenges. Many have found themselves at the frontline of the Covid-19 crisis, making up the majority of health and care workers and the majority of workers at high risk of exposure to Covid-19. But all too often in jobs that are underpaid and undervalued. Other sectors which have a predominately female workforce have been harder hit by the impact of lockdown and ongoing restrictions of social distancing, with risk of unemployment or reducing working hours remaining high.
Alongside this, women have picked up more of the additional unpaid care work within households, with an expectation that during this second round of school closures women will again be making tough decisions about how to work and care for children. Recent analysis by the UK Women’s Budget Group, Engender Scotland, Close the Gap, the Fawcett Society and other partners across the UK shows that mothers on the lowest incomes are eight times more at risk of losing their job due to school closures in the UK.
The Scottish Women’s Budget Group will be working throughout the year to see how decisions on public spending can work to tackle gender inequalities and challenge the recovery to Covid-19 to build a gender equal economy.
Not a member yet but want to get involved? Join us!
For most of us 2020 may be a year we want to forget. But there are important lessons to be had if the recovery from Covid-19 and the economic fallout is going to work to redress the inequalities that have been laid bare this year.
Covid-19 has affected people’s lives across the world. Families have lost loved ones. Jobs have been lost. Isolation has grown. Support has been lost. But these impacts have not affected us all equally. There’s been decisions in households across Scotland about having to continue in a job without the personal protective equipment you need; or about giving up work because there was no one to look after your children.
Women have faced particular challenges and many found themselves at the frontline of the Covid-19 crisis, making up the majority of health and care workers and the majority of workers at high risk of exposure to Covid-19. But all too often in jobs that are underpaid and undervalued. Alongside this, other sectors which have a predominately female workforce have been harder hit by the impact of lockdown and ongoing restrictions of social distancing, with risk of unemployment or reducing working hours remaining high.
What is clear is that the impact of Covid-19 has sharpened existing inequalities and risks many more people being swept up in a rising tide of poverty.
This must now be seen as a time for transformation. As we recover from Covid-19 we need to consider together what we value in our economy, how public spending invests in these values, and how we can stand together to create change. Throughout the lockdown people demonstrated the desire to come together to support others or show solidarity. From clapping on doorsteps, to community mutual aid groups and the fantastic work of grassroots organisations across the country. 2020 has shown us that we can come together and provide solutions.
As 2020 draws to a close we wanted to share some good reads from the year to help us think about what’s needed as part of the recovery process:
Caring Economy Now – final report by the UK Commission for a Gender Equal Economy calling for transformative change to the economy and where public spending is invested;
Gender and Economic Recovery – Close the Gap and Engender bring together 9 principles for economic recovery which we fully endorse;
Carrying the work burden of Covid-19 – working class women in the UK research from Nottingham University Business School;
Covid-19 and economic challenges for migrant women policy briefing from the UK Women’s Budget Group;
Our World Reimagined webinar on a Gender Equal Economy part of a webinar series run by GCVS;
Supercharged: A Human Catastrophe on Inequalities, Participation and Human Rights before, during and beyond Covid-19 from Glasgow Disability Alliance;
Towards a Feminist Green New Deal from WEN (Women’s Environmental Network and the UK Women’s Budget Group;
Gender differences in the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on unpaid care work and psychological distress in the UK.
As 2021 dawns it is an important year for change. Join us as we work to tackle inequalities through gender responsive budgeting, working to ensure that public spending decisions recognise the different challenges faced by women and men. Over the coming weeks and months we’ll be sharing events and training for you to get involved and be part of the change.
We have some exciting news to share from the Scottish Women’s Budget Group. We are now officially set up as a charity and have received a small amount of funding to help develop and grow the work of SWBG. This brings us into a new phase of development and growth for the group. Our aim is to continue to produce robust analysis to influence policy as Scotland starts its journey of recovery from Covid-19 and build on our long-standing approach of building knowledge and application of feminist economics analysis by offering training and creating accessible resources for our membership and beyond.
To help make this happen we need to hear from you!
As Scotland builds its response and recovery to the Covid-19 pandemic let’s ensure we build a gender equal economy, a caring economy for all. Working together across communities in Scotland analysing proposals at local and national government all our voices are needed to make the case for change. As a first step to help make this happen we’d like to know the type of training you, or groups you work with, would be interested in to engage more with the decision-making process. Please take our quick survey so we can build our programme for our members.
As part of a UK wide project, the Commission on a Gender Equal Economy, we are pleased to share the recent report Creating a Caring Economy: A Call to Action. This call to action is going to take all of us to push forward a different vision, that puts gender equality, wellbeing and sustainability at the heart of building an economy that works for people and planet. You can watch back the fantastic launch event of the report, including our own Angela O’Hagan sharing her thoughts on the particular connections to work in Scotland, watch back here.
We’d also love to hear from you if there are others ways you’d like to get involved with the work of the Scottish Women’s Budget Group or to book a briefing event.
Contact Sara on firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Scottish Women’s Budget Group
The Scottish Women’s Budget Group (SWBG) has campaigned for over 20 years for gender budget analysis in the Scottish Government and local authority budgets. SWBG brings together women from across Scotland who have an interest in women’s equality and want to achieve gender equality. Our aim is to continue to produce robust analysis to influence policy, and to build on our long-standing approach to building knowledge and application of feminist economics analysis offering training and creating accessible resources.
With funding support from the Open Society Foundation (OSF), SWBG is entering an exciting new phase of development and expansion, recently becoming a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO).
As a result, SWBG is now able to offer a 12-month fixed-term contract for a Co-ordinator to drive forward our policy impact and membership development. This role is part of a ‘four-nations’ project, supported by the UK Women’s Budget Group and funded by the OSF, working to advance gender budgeting in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England/UK, at different levels of government in the different countries.
This month, the convener of the Scottish Women's Budget Group, Angela O'Hagan, appeared on the Scottish feminist policy podcast On The Engender to talk about gender budgeting. The podcast also features voices from SWBG members talking about why they are part of the group.
Listen below, or find it on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts
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