The weekend before last, thousands of women marched through the
streets of London to highlight the inequalities we still face.
Although we've taken giant strides towards equality in recent
years, it is a sad reality that in 21st century Britain, under this
Tory-led government, women's equality is not on the agenda and is
in very real danger of going backwards.
To reflect this concern, the message of the march, organised by
the Fawcett Society, was 'Don't Turn Back Time'. Those who took
part dressed in 1950s-style costumes and told David Cameron that
they refuse to be catapulted back to the levels of inequality of
But just 18 months into this Tory-led government, it is women
who are bearing the brunt of the government's failing economic
policies and women's equality issuffering as a direct result of the
decisions thegovernment hastaken.
Recent unemployment figures revealed that women are facing the
biggest crisis in joblessness since the late 1980s, with over one
million stuck on the dole. Young women are particularly hard hit,
as the employment rate for those aged 16 -24 continues to fall.
Unemployment is devastating for anyone, regardless of their
gender, but access to the jobs market has been the single greatest
factor in securingincreasingeconomic independence for women and
reducing economic inequality between women and men. The reduction
in the numbers of women in employmentis narrowing life
opportunities for women in a way we have not witnessed in
They are increasingly expected to pick up the pieces as social
care and childcare is cut to the bone. I'vemet with and
spoken to unemployed women who have told me about their fears for
the future. They don't see a government that is on their side or
listening to what they say. And they want to see a change in a
failing economic plan that is having a devastating impact on their
ability to find a jobor fulfil their potential in life.
In Parliament I've called on the government to come up with a
plan to help women and have urged the Prime Minster and Chancellor
to back Labour's five-point plan for jobs. Our plan includes a plan
to tax bank bonuses and use the money raised to fund 100,000 youth
jobs, the bringing forward of long-term investment projects
to get people back to work and a tax break for small business that
take on extra workers.
If the government continues to carry on without listening to our
concerns and fails to do something to address the growing problem
of unemployment then the clock will be turned back on women's
equality andwe will lose generations of hard won progress.
We must not let it happen.
For more information about the Fawcett Society's
campaign, visit www.fawcettsociety.org.uk
Keep up with Angela at www.angelaeaglemp.co.uk