WOMEN in the North East are feeling the affects of austerity measures more than their counterparts in any other British region, a new report says.
The study, undertaken by NEWomen’s Network and Women’s Resource Centre, reveals the startling impact that Government spending cuts and welfare reforms are having across the region.
Rising levels of female unemployment, dependency on men and gender inequality are just a handful of the problems that the interim report has unearthed.
Today, representatives from the NEWomen’s Network will present the findings to MPs at the House of Commons in Westminster, London.
Sue Robson, report author and co-ordinator of the network, said: “When the austerity measures and welfare benefit cuts came into play, we became aware they would have a disproportionate impact on women in the North East, where women are already behind the starting line.
“We had statistics that were saying women in the region were already affected by gender inequality, whether it be in employment, education, involvement in politics, at every level women were already behind.
“More women are employed by the public sector in the North East than in any other region.
“So when the Government announce cuts to local authorities and public spending, it is going to impact on women here more than other places, which starts to paint a pretty grim picture.”
The interim report highlights concerns on the way in which financial problems for women can soon become worse and cause further issues in all aspects of their lives.
Sue and two other members of the NEWomen’s Network are today travelling down to the capital to officially publish the report and present it to MPs from the region, including Newcastle Central’s Chi Onwurah and Bridget Phillipson, who represents Houghton and Sunderland South.
As part of a lobby of Parliament organised by UK Feminista, the representatives hope to raise a number of issues and recommendations.
One of those to be highlighted is the need for the Government to develop better data systems so it is easier to monitor what is happening to people
Dr Ruth Lewis, co-author of the report and lecturer at Northumbria University, said: “We found during the research that you might be able to find regional data, but often you can’t break it down to men and women.
“So it becomes quite hard to know what is happening to women in the North East because national data isn’t available.”