Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/700/13477
Socialist Women: At the frontline of the resistance
Socialist Party members from eight regions were represented at an excellent national women's meeting on 8 January.
The first session focussed on the effects of the cuts on women. The speaker, Claire Laker-Mansfield, pointed out that socialists recognise that the cuts are not hitting women hardest just because the Tories don't like them.
Women will be among the hardest hit mainly because they were already in an unequal position. For example, they tend to be more reliant on welfare - 30% of women rely on benefits for more than 75% of their income compared to 15% of men. They are also more reliant on the public sector for jobs, and also for services because they carry the majority of the burden for childcare etc.
Everyone at the meeting had examples of horrific Con-Dem cuts. For example, the health in pregnancy grant has been abolished, the baby element of tax credits has been withdrawn and the basic rate frozen, the £500 Sure Start maternity grant is now only payable for first children and lone parents with children over five are set to be forced onto Jobseeker's Allowance.
These attacks also mean that women are at the frontline of the fightback against the cuts.
The afternoon session was on the Socialist Party and the women's movement. We discussed the significance of recent protests such as Slutwalk, which seem to be leading to more young women thinking of themselves as feminists.
There was agreement on the important role that socialists can play in such campaigns by putting forward a clear strategy of what would be needed for the protests to have a real impact on women's lives and on sexism.
The meeting brought together people keen to take a lead on discussing and campaigning around these issues. We started to make plans for further meetings, particularly in local areas, and for International Women's Day on 8 March.
In The Socialist 11 January 2012:
Socialist Party Interview
Them and Us
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party features
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party women
Socialist Party news
Socialist Party reviews and comments