Feminist economics: Harman commits to publish impact of future budgets on women

// 28 April 2010

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UPDATE: Fawcett have posted a podcast of the full hustings event.

Harriet Harman has committed future Labour governments to publish information on how the Budget will affect women.

At Fawcett’s hustings this week with the most senior woman from the main three parties, Harman said:

The Equality Act will require Government to do a gender audit of its decisions, so that you can see the differential impact on men and women of decisions about public spending and that gender audit about the decision will then obviously be public.

The Fawcett Society is now pushing for the Conservatives and Lib Dems to make the same promise.

Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, explains succinctly why this is important – the government is already carrying out a gender impact assessment, but without publishing it!

Although there is already a legal duty to conduct an assessment of how spending plans affect women, there is no duty to publish it. This underhand economics is simply being dishonest with voters. Women are a larger proportion of the public sector workforce and use more public services more regularly. Cuts in public spending are going to hit women hardest and this should be explained. I welcome Labour’s commitment to do this and challenge the other parties to do the same. The last leaders’ debate tomorrow, focuses on the economy, the parties grandees have the perfect opportunity to commit to publishing this vital information for over half of voters.

Photo of the Gladstone Box shared on Flickr by National Archives, click through for copyright info

Comments From You

CMK // Posted 29 April 2010 at 11:44 am

Publishing the audits on how the budget will impact on the different genders is a positive step (if it were only an impact on how it affected women it would not actually tell us very much).

I think this is sensible given that it helps people to realise the impact of the decisions made.

I am not so sure that it is especially useful to only examine the genders, but it is a step in the right direction.

frank // Posted 29 April 2010 at 12:43 pm

I think this is brilliant news. Getting information made public about that relates to gender impacts of decisions would be a huge step in helping people understand gender inequality. Which I assume is what it will reveal…

A J // Posted 29 April 2010 at 3:03 pm

Nice idea – I’d have thought the Government should be publishing as much information about how its budget will affect society as possible, especially if it’s already compiling the data!

Though looking at the way things are going it doesn’t seem likely that Labour will actually be in government to deliver any such pledge…

Rose // Posted 29 April 2010 at 6:07 pm

As big a step forward as I think that would be, I’m not sure how meaningful the offer is.

Let’s be honest, politicians aren’t know for keeping their promises. Back in ’97, Labour had proportional representation in it’s manifesto, if they had put that one into effect we’d be in a very different situation now.

Have they said that they would ‘act’ on the information, or just that they would make it available?

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