"We can do it!" poster - pregnancy photoshoot from Sun Newspaper
(Source: Sun Newspaper)

Women..who needs them? Oh yeah only the WORLD. It’s rather a shame how we live in a society with such structured inequality going on, right under our noses. People are constantly bombarded with the whole history of how far women have come since being treated like second class citizens like nearly a century ago e.g. getting the right to vote, wearing skirts in public blah blah blah, but what about today? What about women in relation to global production? Are we fully aware about how the political economy is treating women? Should we even care? OBVIOUSLY YES, for humans that bring life into this world, at least treat us with a bit of dignity.

It has been argued that gendered inequalities that fuel the violence against women are rooted in structures and processes of political economy that are increasingly globalised however, it has created some (fairly few) new opportunities for advancing women’s economic independence and gender equality (True,J).

Government reactions to the financial crisis have unjustly affected women compared with men. The stimulus package given by the government straightaway after the collapse of credit and global trade protectionism were swiftly replaced by initiatives to reduce government expenditure by cutting public services. For example, In Britain 65% of public sector workers are female which meant that two-thirds of the 130,000 jobs were lost in local authorities (Hill 2011) you think that’s bad? It gets worse. Also because half of workers on temporary contracts are women and 42% of women work part time, which means that they unfortunately, have restricted employment rights and less access to redundancy pay than men (Rake 2009). Therefore many argue (including myself) that these proportions are likely to upsurge as the burden of recession does its damage, especially if in Britain, 90% of single parent households are led single mothers and 43% of children living in poverty come from single-parent families (Rake 2009).  Adding to this misery, other evidence already suggests a pattern of increases of violence against women, just as the world experienced it in the 1930s great depression which was a result of economic shock and austerity (Warner 2010). Thus in the context of economic hardship brought about recession violence against women is being accentuated rather than eliminated (True, J,)

Contrary to the purpose of campaigns worldwide, it’s unusual how key actors in the global political economy fail to make linkages between the effects of financial crises and macroeconomic policies to women’s vulnerability and violence against women. For example, how can the UN not explicitly identify the connection between structural inequalities in its millennium development goals, and just brush off violence against women as a separate goal, without even acknowledging the fact that there may be linkages between them, nor do their UN development program indexes contain indicators of violence when following the development of women and examining the patterns of gender inequality. This is clearly a worry, because, if one does not contextualise violence within the gendered structures of economic impoverishment and absence of opportunity the problems will not be appropriately addressed therefore this may disconnect the problem with its underlying cause.

By Fahima Hamid

Hill, Amelia. 2011 “Women’s Equality: Clock is Turning as Back as Cuts Bite, says Fawcett Society”.  The Guardian, November 4.

Rake, Katherine. 2009. Are Women Bearing the Burden of the Recession? London: Fawcett Society.

Warner, Judith. 2010. “What the Great Recession Has Done to Family life”. New York Times, August 6.

True, Jacqui. The Political Economy Of Violence Against Women. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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