From 2011-2013 I worked with Mary-Ann Stephenson on a series of reports which investigated the human rights impacts of austerity on women in Coventry. In ‘Unravelling Inequality’, ‘Feeling the Pinch’ and ‘Layers of Inequality’ we uncovered how the combined impact of austerity policy was having a devastating impact on some women in the city. For women who were also poor, disabled and/or from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background, existing inequalities were compounded by being disproportionately hit by austerity measures.
Mary-Ann is now working at the Women’s Budget group. She was on Women’s Hour this morning talking about research WBG released today which shows how, across the whole of the UK, low income black and Asian women are paying the highest price for austerity. While the poorest Asian women will be losing more than £2,000 per year by 2020 (more than 11% of their income) as a result of austerity measures, the richest white men will be losing only £400.
As Mary-Ann pointed out on Women’s Hour “The Treasury have not carried out a proper analysis. They have not looked at how, for instance, the poorest Asian women will be affected… If you have got a government which says it wants to help those struggling most to cope, it has to find out how its own policies are affecting those people.”
The kind of analysis done by WBG needs to be widely shared, so as to help hold the government to account for talking about helping ‘just about managing’ families but not attempting to work out the effects of its policies on those who are most affected.