Solace is proud to be one of the 65+ women's and charitable organisations, led by Fawcett Society, calling for action to ensure that women and girls in all our diversity are not left behind by the UK Government’s approach to lifting lockdown. Women and their families must be protected from poverty and the likelihood a second wave.
Women and girls are being left behind by the UK Government’s approach to lifting lockdown. The UK Government is prioritising reopening shops, pubs, hairdressers and cinemas – while childcare and care infrastructure receives little attention. For many parents, a lack of childcare means they cannot return to work. Plans to open primary schools in England before the summer holiday were dropped, and nurseries and care homes are struggling financially and in need of a bailout. Women still do the majority of unpaid care, and early data shows that mothers in opposite-sex couples were 50% more likely to have been fired, quit or furloughed than fathers during lockdown. This situation is likely to be even worse for single parents, 90% of whom are women.
Existing inequalities have been worsened by the coronavirus outbreak. Death rates and critical illness rates are disproportionately high amongst Black and Asian people and those from ethnic minority backgrounds (BAME), and BAME women were more likely to say they were struggling to make ends meet and feed their children during lockdown than white women. Social isolation has hit disabled women hardest, with 56% saying they’ve struggled to cope.2 Older women are more likely to suffer the fatal consequences of the pandemic, and to be socially isolated while shielding. Women are the majority of people in poverty and more likely to be in low paid and insecure work with no sick pay. Research by Autonomy found that 2.5 million of the 3.2 million workers employed in the highest risk roles are women, and they must be protected from the risk of a second wave.
The Prime Minister himself agreed that women should have been more visible in the Government’s crisis decision-making. In response to questioning from the Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, Caroline Nokes MP, the PM said “It’s certainly true that I would have liked to have had more female representation at the press conferences so far” and promised to do “whatever it takes to help get women back into work”.
We are a coalition of over 65 women’s and charitable organisations calling for action from the UK Government. Here we have focused on ensuring that years of progress on women’s rights is not overturned as lockdown is lifted. Our recommendations for the UK Government cover the following areas:
- Prioritising care
- Safeguarding women’s incomes
- Public health and protecting women from a second wave
- Addressing the disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and ethnic minority women
- Making women safe from violence and abuse
- Disabled women and older women, and self-isolating and shielding households
- Women in prison
- Women's representation in crisis decision making
Read the #MakeWomenVisable recommendations for the UK Government here:
Find out more and take action here: https://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/uk-govs-approach-to-lifting-of-lockdown-women-and-girls-are-being-left-behind