Counted on, but not counted: women’s roles in the New Austerity and the Big Society (UK) – NEF


In previous blog posts as part of our New Austerity and the Big Society project, we have pointed to the emerging tensions between the Government’s economic policies – defined by rapid and deep austerity – and their social policy agenda for a Big Society and more Open Public Services. While the Big Society is the social policy that makes the Government’s economic policies politically feasible, the findings from our research so far show that the speed and scale of the new austerity is undermining the best of the Big Society, leaving already disadvantaged groups in ever more precarious circumstances.

In this blog we look at what this means for one group in particular; women – or more specifically, women on low to middle incomes. Taken together, what do the Big Society and new austerity mean for this group? For their ability to balance paid and unpaid labour? For their actual and potential roles in society?

For many years the burden of striking a balance between productive and reproductive roles in society has fallen on female shoulders. Now, it would seem, the convergence of economic austerity and plans for a Big Society are making it harder and harder for women – particularly women in low to middle income brackets – to negotiate this double burden.

SOURCE: Joe Penny, Blogpost, “Counted on, but not counted: women’s roles in the New Austerity and the Big Society”, NEF, 04 April 2012

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