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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 February 2012

The Socialist, reader's comment

Tory policies hit women hardest

Helen Ridett

Louise Mensch, a rich, privileged Tory MP, is trying desperately to reinvent her party as supporters of feminism. But put the microscope on her party's policies and you can see how they create barriers to equal opportunities, especially for working class women.

A big barrier to women's freedom is low income levels leading to poverty. The public sector pay freeze and planned pay cap will impact worst on women as the majority of public sector workers are women.

Ms Mensch expects us to applaud the fact that 80% of the lowest earners, exempted from the pay freeze, are women. But if the Con-Dem government really cared about women's welfare they wouldn't condemn them to poverty pay.

Many public sector workers, again primarily women, are already being displaced or made redundant as the Tories implement their agenda to shrink the welfare state and brutally attack public services.

Socialist agenda

Socialists have an agenda of supporting and strengthening the 'welfare state' which not only employs many women, but offers financial safety nets for working class women and our children.

Working class women have no trust funds or rich parents to fall back on in a period of rising unemployment. Tories also attack state provision of health and education that working class people rely on the most.

Tory child support agency reforms propose to charge single parents a fee for arranging support payments. This regressive idea is a blatant attack that will hit single mothers hard.

The ability to control our fertility, also crucial to women's liberation, came under attack by Tory MP Nadine Dorries who campaigned to reduce the legal time limit for abortion. Dorries also proposed that 'independent' abortion providers provide counseling to women seeking a termination. This would have let pro-life and religious backed groups flood the 'market'.

When the Tories talk about 'sustainable funding cycles' for women's services, they want to farm out state provision of services to other sectors including faith groups with an abysmal track record.

This government's accelerated public service cuts also hit working class women and our children with the closure of one o'clock clubs and play schemes which all help to ease the daily task of childcare.

A new report shows that 31% of funding for domestic and sexual violence services has been scrapped by Tory cuts over the last year. So now some women in abusive relationships will remain trapped and may even end up badly injured or dead.

Already these cuts have led to hundreds of vulnerable women being turned away from emergency shelter accommodation and directed to sleep in the Occupy camps, on night buses or in accident and emergency units.

Some Tory MPs talk positively about women's rights but their policies expose the lie that they are feminists.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 8 February 2012:

Socialist Party NHS campaigning

Save the NHS!

Prince Philip Hospital Llanelli: We can defeat cuts plans

Kingston Hospital: Save all NHS jobs

Socialist Party news and analysis

London - a tale of two cities

Exploiting the unemployed to line the pockets of big business

Safe railways, not shopping malls

Them & Us

Socialist Party youth and students

Students drop out of college without EMA

Leeds Trinity students fight canteen cuts

New society at Leeds College

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Scrap the Welfare Reform Bill

Tactics to stop racist EDL

Manchester Sure Starts saved!

Tower Hamlets: Save Rushmead one stop shop - fight all cuts

Salford campaign saves day care centres

Defend care services in Medway

International socialist news and analysis

Mubarak's state machine blamed for football massacre

Socialist Party workplace news

UCU special conference

Reinstate sacked PCS steward, John Brookes!

The scandalous role of London Unison - Demand that it defends Len Hockey!

Striking oil tanker drivers demand meaningful talks

Workplace news in brief

The Socialist - reviews & readers' comments

Tory policies hit women hardest

We need fighting trade unions

Review: Borgen - politics and crime in Denmark


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