Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

Labour Party

Last week was of course International Women’s day, the theme was equal pay. I spent a lot of time covering the subject and also the issue of introducing mandatory quotas for women on boards.

The day was not restricted to this debate only, so the Guardian asked some influential women what they considered to be their priorities for women and what they were going to fight for on the day. Woman’s Hour presenter Jenni Murray said affordable child care was paramount while author Katy Lette questioned marriage and suggested that, at times, it can resemble slave labour.
You can read their reasoning’s here.

It’s a pity we still consider there is much to fight for in 2012, but there is and we must not lose sight of this and continue to improve opportunities for the generations of women to follow us.

I came across a powerful blog last week, in which I learnt a total of 1000 women die each day somewhere in the world due to preventable complication in pregnancy or childbirth.

The World Bank boasts it’s a ‘global leader’ in reproductive health but fails to mentions that it has committed little more than 0.2% of its $43bn for the financial year (2011).

The Guardian blog reports that almost half of its reproductive health projects in Sub-Saharan Africa are funded by loans. The loans will obviously have an adverse effect on countries already suffering all sorts of problems, many of which are already in debt and will likely discourage administrations from further investment. Those who will suffer the most? The answer is women, the poorest women to be precise.

Spending cuts like these are devastating to poor women who, as the report states, ‘suffer directly from reduced access to healthcare but are responsible for the health of their households.’

Writing a blog for the Guardian, Elizabeth Arend, programme coordinator at Gender Action, called on The World Bank to re-evaluate its strategies for reducing maternal mortality if it is ever going to live up to its claim of being a ‘global leader’ in improving reproductive health.

She also calls for The Bank to ‘increase the number of grants it provides to expand access to reproductive and maternal healthcare — including post-abortion care — and eliminate any fees attached to these vital services.’ Certainly if The Bank would like to hold onto its title of a world leader in this area then it really must show the world how well it’s leading us. You can read the full article here.

Having worked in and run charities for many years, I was concerned, but not surprised to learn more about the true impact of brutal Tory cuts revealed in yesterday’s Sunday Mirror. Vincent Moss’ excellent article found how charities lose billions, £5.5bn, this year alone, and it’s the poorest being hit the hardest.

The claim comes from a leaked report by charity bosses which says: “We estimate that cuts to the charity sector in the UK in 2011/12 will range from just under £1billion (£970 million) in the very best scenario, to just over £5.5billion in the very worst.”

The result is that much needed services provided by charities are being forced to close daily. I’m not entirely sure how Mr Cameron thinks the Big Society works, but relying on the good nature of people and charities to provide services without any budget is not practicable or sustainable in any way.

You can read Vincent Moss’ full analysis here.