This Conservative-led Government has a
problem with women and it's not just about David Cameron's boorish
behaviour towards us in the House of Commons or the lack of women
sat around his top table.
From job losses, cuts to child care and tax
credits, unfair changes to the pension age and reductions in
domestic and sexual violence support services - it is women in
Britain today who are bearing the brunt of the Government's failing
With 1.05million women on the dole, female
unemployment is now at a 23 year high - the highest since 1988 when
Margaret Thatcher was in power. Yet the Government has failed to
come up with a plan for jobs to help women.
Changes to the retirement age mean that
women in their 50s will now also have to work a year longer to
retire at 66 from 2020.
The scaling back of rights in the work
place means that women will lose the right to flexible working as
the government plans to exempt some businesses from flexible
Their only idea to get the economy moving
seems to be to destroy protection and fairness at work. The PM's
policy guru Steve Hilton was recently reported to have suggested
the abolition of all maternity rights.
And under this Government, women lose
around £8.80 per week compared to men losing around £4.20 per week
due to the combined tax, benefit and tax credit changes.
Women with children are being hit hard too
with the closure and cutting back of Sure Start centres and child
minding support. And let'snot forget the cuts to child benefit due
After just eighteen months in power it is
clear what the Tories really think of women. As a result, women
voters are now deserting the Tories in their droves and David
Cameron is running scared. The 'female-friendly' image he so
desperately tried sell us before the election has been exposed as a
But the Prime Minister believes only a bit
of spin is needed to win back women. A leaked memo recently
revealed how the Government is planning a major public relations
drive aimed at women. It spoke of an "urgent need to up our game on
communications about what we're doing".
This panicked reaction to sinking approval
ratings shows just how out of touch this Government is with we
women. They seem to have no idea what it's like to worry about
paying the bills at the end of the month or the impact of cutting
vital support services for carers is likely to have. The Tories
have a blind spot where women are concerned and until they start
listening properly women won't calm down.
Angela Eagle is Labour MP for Wallasey,
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and a senior member of
Labour's Shadow Cabinet. She was elected to Parliament in 1992 and
served as a minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Angela is a
prominent campaigner for equality and is the only out lesbian