Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Lynn Boylan today accused Labour and Fine Gael for pursuing anti-women policies in government.
Boylan was speaking at today’s National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) Soap Box initiative in Dublin city centre to mark International Women’s day.
The young Tallaght woman said:
“This week the National Women’s Council published a policy document calling for a women-friendly parliament, a report released by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights once again detailed the stark reality of violence against women and girls.
“Low levels of female participation in politics and the prevalence of violence against women and girls must be tackled, and so too must the impact of austerity on women and their children.
“Years of austerity budgets have systematically inflicted pain on women with cuts to child benefit, maternity benefit and disability supports targeted.
“In the government’s 2011 budget lone parents, of which women make up 73%, effectively saw a 5% cut to their income and they were targeted again in subsequent years by cuts to one parent family payments and back to school clothing & footwear allowances.
“Since the crisis began Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour have pursued fiscal and social policies that are anti-women.
“Some employers and their representative groups, with the assistance of government, have sought to turn the recession into an opportunity making low paid work even more precarious by championing zero hour contracts and attacking wage agreements.
“Women often make up the majority of workers in sectors such as retail, hospitality and healthcare where employment has become increasingly insecure creating an avoidable cycle of poverty.
“Government talk of fairness is nothing more than lip service as we’ve seen from the last three budgets which have targeted women for the meanest of the cuts.
“No surprise really as the annual budget is actually decided on by the four man Economic Management Council.
“Labour talks the talk of equality but time and again fails to walk the walk. Labour Ministers have turned their back on the very notion of Equality Budgeting despite the endorsement of this progressive policy by their own party members.
“For women out of work the picture is not much better with numbers on the live register stagnating, and in some parts of working class Dublin their numbers are increasing. Is it any wonder that the number of women experiencing deprivation has doubled in the last three years?
“To mark this year’s International Women’s Day I am calling on all organisations and individuals committed to equality of opportunity to unite in the demand for equality budgeting and decent work for all.”