Thank you, Susan Peshkoff for an excellent presentation. You clearly demonstrate that it is the female members of the U.K., and European society who are suffering the greatest impact from the neo-liberal capitalist austerity measures.
But this suffering also presents an opportunity for the revolutionary socialist movement in that the austerity measures are inevitably radicalizing poor and working class women, causing them to question why they are being so victimized. These same women are potentially a powerful force which, if organized, could makethe needed changes to create a truly human society. The left needs to focus on helping these women to self-rganize and express their ideas what kind of a society human beings should live in, and how to make it a reality.
The socialist revolutionary movement must unite with this force, encouraging the self-organization of poor and working class women into unions (or similar groups), whether or not they are in formal or informal employment or unemployed or on pensions. Efforts to crash the”Glass Ceiling” are utterly irrelevant to the needs of the vast majority of women and, as Pashkoff argues, the majority can’t even get access to low level jobs in the better paying industries. Getting a few women into high management positions does absolutely nothing to effect the needed fundamental changes.
The left might be well advised to publicize the advances that are being made in some countries in Latin America, particularly Venezuela and Ecuador, to provide their men, women, children and retired folks with a basic living wage, subsidized food, housing, education and health care, thus setting minimum standards for a dignified, human life.
In Venezuela, women are an overwhelming motive force in pushing the movement to create truly human society, on behalf of themselves but for the benefit of all their fellow citizens.
Time to publicize these accomplishments so that women everywhere will recognize what can be done if they join together and fight for decent human conditions.
Excellent points and ones which I agree with completely. Giving poor and working class women a chance to express their voices and to assist them in organising to fight for a better future is essential and we need more democratic tactics based particularly at the grassroots level to help enable these women to express their own voices and fight. I would really like to see the transformations in Venezuela and Ecuador and the manner in which organising is proceeding to be highlighted and publicised. Thanks again for the excellent comment; I cannot tell you how much I agree with everything that you have said.
I’ve been trying to find more info on what’s happening to women under austerity. Even before the cuts there was discrimination and many women lived in poverty partly due to high housing costs in the private sector and the shortage of social housing.
Next year the universal credit system bringing together benefits for both welfare and housing costs will be introduced. Does anyone know how this will operate? How are housing costs going to covered for the increasing number of low income families?
Also it was announced £10 billion is going to be slashed off the welfare bill by 2016? Where are they going to find this money? The savings they make by introducing the universal credit system?
Sorry that I haven’t responded sooner, I haven’t checked in for a few days. Agreed with everything that you say in terms of the discrimination against women that has always existed. What is happening now is an outright attack on women’s employment and access to benefits. The government acknowledge quite openly that single parents with children will bear the brunt of the austerity measures. The £10 billion is in addition to the cuts that have already been announced; as I said in the other piece, housing benefit is already included in the benefit cap of £500/month along with other benefits.