Spending cuts and the male breadwinner model

Cuts to public services are pushing the fight for gender equality into reverse, a group of almost 100 female academics and policymakers has found.

The Women’s Budget Group, which includes professors of economics and social policy at a number of prestigious universities, makes the comments in a report published today that attempts to model how swingeing cuts to public services will affect different groups.

It finds that lone parents, the vast majority of whom are women, and single female pensioners are hardest hit, losing services equivalent to 18.5% and 12% of their respective incomes. Overall, single women lose 60% more than single men, it adds. “Viewed as a whole, together with the measures announced in the June 2010 emergency budget, the cuts represent an immense reduction in the standard of living and financial independence of millions of women,” the report concludes.

“It seems the coalition is happy to restore an outdated ‘male breadwinner, dependent female carer’ model of family life that fits neither with women’s aspirations nor today’s financial necessities.”

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