WiSE Research for Save the Children

WOMEN’S WORK IS MOST CRUCIAL IN FIGHT AGAINST CHILD POVERTY

 

The future of Scotland’s children will be massively affected by a lack of women’s jobs and the impact of government austerity measures, say researchers ahead of a major Women’s Employment Summit on Wednesday 12 September 2012.

As women’s employment in Scotland decreases and their income is reduced through welfare cuts, children will become more vulnerable to poverty say the research centre WiSE (The Women in Scotland’s Economy) at Glasgow Caledonian University in collaboration with charity, Save the Children.

Women’s unemployment in Scotland doubled in 2011, seeing 32,000 women lose their jobs during Oct-Dec alone – meaning an average of 352 jobs lost per day. This was the largest quarterly decline for women’s employment throughout the whole recession. Recent predictions state that child poverty is set to increase in Scotland as a result of UK Government welfare spending cuts. Our concern is that growing female unemployment could see those figures rise even further.

Researchers found that women’s income has a particularly profound effect on children; as women are more family focussed in their spending, are willing to make sacrifices when money is short and devote a higher proportion of their earnings to spending on children.

Douglas Hamilton, Save the Children’s head of Scotland, said:

“These findings have important implications for children living in low income families in Scotland. As women’s employment increases, child poverty decreases.  Central to tackling child poverty is supporting mothers who can and want to work, into employment. We know many mothers want to work but face a number of barriers. The summit is a golden opportunity to look at how those families on the lowest incomes can best be supported.”.

The effects of the recession, as well as ‘austerity’ measures and on public sector employment and cuts in welfare spending has already had a disproportionate impact on women’s incomes.

The Women’s Employment Summit, held at Dynamic Earth, on Wednesday, 12 September was attended by the First Minister, Alex Salmond and the charity are calling for a focus on the impact of employment on women on lower incomes.

Save the Children is calling for the Scottish Government to maximise family incomes by removing barriers to work for the poorest mothers and taking steps such as making childcare more affordable and making work pay as well as introducing a living wage. The charity is also urging the government to protect struggling families from even further cuts.

Economist, Alisa McKay, who addressed the Summit stated:

“Women as mothers tend to direct a large share of their earnings towards providing for their children’s needs. We so often hear stories about women going without necessities, such as meals for themselves, to be able to provide for their children. This research makes it clear that women sacrifice their own needs for that of their kids and when their income is reduced, the impact will be passed directly onto their children”.

Tracey, a lone parent from Glasgow said:

“Job hunting is a massive priority just now – everything’s all about getting me back into work. Every time I get a bill in, I’m like – I need to get a job. I’m desperate to get back to work, desperate. If there were more affordable childcare opportunities, it would take the pressure off”.

To purchase a full copy of the WiSE Research Briefing Sheet, September 2012 “Child Poverty and Mothers Employment Patterns – Exploring Trends”,  contact Alison Lockhart, WiSE , a.lockhart@gcu.ac.uk

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