- Created: Tuesday, 18 December 2018 12:21
- Written by Rachel Francis
‘If you’ had got a group of misogynists in a room, and said “guys, how can we make this system work for me and not for women”, they wouldn’t have come up with too many better ideas than what’s in place’. So said Philip Alston, UN Rapporteur into Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, on 16 November as he concluded his two-week tour of the UK, recognising the disproportionate impact of eight years of austerity measures on women. He was clear it has not been a solely economic question but rather ‘radical social re-engineering’ by a government determined to spread the ‘values’ of individual responsibility and work. His report concluded what working-class women and women’s charities have been saying for years – that austerity is an attack on the poorest, particularly women and children, whilst benefitting the wealthy. Alston inevitably concludes that it a case of a lack of compassion and a state of denial by the government that could be remedied with some policy reform. Instead, the reports by women’s groups on childcare costs and Universal Credit (UC) that have accompanied his visit make it very clear that the situation is drastic and needs a commensurate response.