Wandsworth Labour marks International Women’s Day; “we shine a light on inequality”

Wandsworth Labour Party will be marking International Women’s Day this year with a celebration of local women and a reminder that the fight for gender equality is far from over.

According to figures compiled by the House of Commons Library in December last year, women have suffered a staggering 86% of the impact of tax hikes and benefit cuts since the government’s austerity measures were introduced in 2010.

Wandsworth Labour Party is taking the opportunity to highlight this disproportionate burden by tabling a motion during this week’s Full Council which falls on International Women’s Day (March 8th).

According to Candida Jones, Joint Deputy Leader of Wandsworth Labour: “As these figures show, we are still a long way from achieving a society where men and women have the same opportunities. We are using International Women’s Day to remind the Conservative-run Council that women in Wandsworth often face particular struggles because caring responsibilities usually fall to them, which has an impact on their earning power and on their ability to improve their own circumstances”.

She added; “Hikes in the state pension age for women, maternity discrimination and public service cuts all mean that women have been at the extreme sharp end of this government’s austerity measures. Wandsworth could and should do more to mitigate against this impact. International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to shine a light on this inequality and ask for more assistance for the borough’s most vulnerable women”.

The evening following the debate, to celebrate the lives of women in Tooting, Tooting Labour will be holding an event to mark IWD, called Nonetheless She Persisted; a celebration of extraordinary ordinary local women.

The event (March 9) will include song, music, spoken word, comedy, politics and personal stories of adversity and triumph, brought to life by ordinary yet extraordinary local women. It is being held at Tooting’s newest venue, the Sound Lounge.

Participants include: Lisa Laudat, a session singer turned vocal coach who has worked with Lionel Richie, East 17, Simply Red, All Saints, Ben E. King, David Gilmour and Paul Young, to name but a few; Jackie Defferary, who is currently directing the Taming of the Shrew at the Globe; Mia Burgess, who won Wandsworth’s  Young Person of the Year 2016 for her work campaigning on gender and sexuality awareness;  Kemi Akinola, community activist, and Sandra Elwin, whose son Lewis was murdered in Tooting last year. The evening will be compered by Carrie Quinlan, actor, comedy writer and journalist.

According to Fleur Anderson, Joint Deputy of Wandsworth Labour: “it will be a moving and inspiring evening which will allow women to tell their personal stories or share their talents. Everyone should come, bring their children and marvel at what women in Wandsworth, and across the world, achieve every day often against great odds”.

Tickets can be reserved here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nevertheless-she-persisted-tooting-labour-international-womens-day-tickets-32384741634?aff=eivtefrnd

clockwise from from top right Carrie Quinlan, Jackie Defferary, Kemi Akinola, Lisa Laudat, Vito Ward, Sandra Elwin and Mia Burgess

The Labour Motion is here and below

Motion to mark International Women’s Day and the disproportionate impact of benefit cuts on women

This council welcomes International Women’s Day as an important occasion to recognise the achievements of women; and calls on the Government to join in this international event and pledge its commitment to gender parity.

The theme of International Women’s Day this year is Be Bold for Change.

The Council notes Wandsworth’s proud place in the struggle for women’s rights in the last century, with activists including suffragist and author Charlotte Despard, pacifist, suffragist an MP  Caroline Ganley – and many thousands of residents who have joined movements for social change and taken steps towards gender equality in their communities, homes, schools and workplaces.

This Council notes that tradition of female leadership continues today with all three of the borough’s MPs, Rosena Allin-Khan, Jane Ellison and Justine Greening.

This Council notes, however, that the benefit cuts introduced in 2010 have had a disproportionately large impact on women as a result of hikes in the state pension age, maternity discrimination and public service cuts. Figures produced by the House of Commons Library and released in December last show that women have suffered a staggering 86% of the impact of tax hikes and benefit cuts since 2010 and the disparity is getting worse – with the financial hit suffered by women up from 81% of the austerity measures at the same point the year before.

This Council further notes that the same figures show that black and minority ethnic women in all income groups have been hit the hardest by the changes and therefore resolves to:

  • recognise the impact on disproportionate impact of tax and benefit changes since 2010 on women as compared to men in Wandsworth
  • recognise the importance of carrying out gender audits of the impact of Council policies, to understand if their negative impact on women in the borough is disproportionate.
  • put in place structures and policies designed specifically to ease any disproportionate burden carried by women in Wandsworth, most acutely by black and minority ethnic women, in the face of austerity.
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